S KOREA
Passengers wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in a train in Seoul, South Korea(Reuters/Kim Hong-j

South Korea's Health Ministry has said that a seventh person infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has died.

In addition, eight new cases have been detected, bringing the total number of people infected to 95, the ministry was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Separately, Hong Kong has raised its response level to the outbreak in South Korea to "serious" from "alert" on its three-tier system. The third one is "emergency."

The "serious" level means there will be tighter controls at entry points in Hong Kong, greater coordination between authorities and swifter test results for suspected cases.

In a statement, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection urged the public to "avoid unnecessary travel to Korea", especially those with chronic illnesses. It also urged travellers in Korea and the Middle East to avoid "unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities".

Malaysia's Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya told reporters that Malaysians have been advised against travelling to South Korea for the time being, although no official ban has been issued.

"We are monitoring airports. If a traveller has a high body temperature, he will be stopped for further checks," he said, The Star reported.

While Singapore has not imposed a travel ban to South Korea, the Singaporean Ministry of Education has said that school trips to the country have been cancelled. The Ministry, in a statement, also urged its citizens to "avoid visiting healthcare institutions in South Korea, unless it is necessary to do so."