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Hong Kong Quarantines 18 Over MERS Fears

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus infected a South Korean man who traveled to China, sparking fears that the virus could spread.
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Hong Kong authorities quarantined 18 fellow passengers of a South Korean man who arrived in the city infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS.

The Chinese city's health authorities said Saturday the 18 are quarantined in the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village resort in a remote part of Hong Kong for two weeks. They were seated within two rows of the South Korean man, but have not showed any symptoms so far.

Another 17 people are under medical surveillance.

Authorities say the 44-year-old South Korean man flew from Seoul to Hong Kong on Tuesday and then traveled by bus to the Chinese mainland. He is China's first imported MERS case and is being held in isolation at a hospital in southern China.

The potentially fatal virus is similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which broke out in China in 2002. Fifteen cases of MERS have been detected in South Korea.

Hong Kong authorities were asking other passengers of Asiana Airlines Flight 723 to contact them.