Mers outbreak: Chinese hospital staff 'hold ballot to decide who will treat patient with deadly disease'

The patient is the son of a reported case of Mers in South Korea who flew to China despite doctors' warning that he was at risk of infection

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Staff at a hospital in China have drawn lots on who will treat China’s first reported case of Mers.

The man, who is a relative of somebody known to be infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers), had neglected advice not to travel before presenting with symptoms in China.

According to the hospital, located in the southern city of Huizhou, the ballot was arranged as there were too many volunteers to treat the South Korean man.

However, posts that have since appeared on social media have suggested that the ballot took place because many were reluctant to provide care.

Doctors in South Korea had advised the man not to travel after his father had contracted the illness and there were fears that he had been in close contact with him.

The development is the latest in South Korea’s recent outbreak of Mers, in which 24 cases have been reported since last month. So far, two people have died from the virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that the disease has a 27 per cent death rate in those infected, although of the reported deaths, all have had previous underlying medical conditions.

Health Officials in South Korea have said that about 750 people have now been isolated in their homes, or in state-run facilities after coming into contact with infected patients.

In a statement, South Korean Health Officials said that a 58-year-old woman who died of acute respiratory failure on Monday showed she had been infected with the disease before her death.

A spokesperson for the WHO said: "Chinese health authorities acted swiftly in response to the initial notification from the Republic of Korea that the close contact of a confirmed-Mers case had travelled to China earlier this week."