More than 200 schools have shut or cancelled classes for the week to prevent the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, the Education Ministry said on 3 June.

Most of the schools are located in the province of Gyeonggi around the capital, Seoul, where the first death occurred on 1 June, the ministry said.

The Education Minister Hwang Woo-yeo convened an emergency meeting to discuss ways to protect students from the virus.

"As of now, 209 schools have been closed or cancelled classes to prevent infection," said Hwang, adding none of the students were infected with the virus but several students and teachers have been quarantined as a precaution.

"After a discussion with superintendents from four local education offices, the education ministry and education offices will take thorough preventive measures," Hwang said.

South Korea confirmed five more cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Wednesday, bringing to 30 the number of infected people since the outbreak began in the country two weeks ago. Two people have died.

Whilst there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission, the nightmare scenario is the virus changes and spreads rapidly, as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) did in 2002-2003, killing about 800 people around the world.

MERS was first identified in humans in 2012 and is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered SARS. But MERS has a much higher death rate at 38%, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures. There is no cure or vaccine.