BREAKING: British woman in Hua Hin in quarantine for MERS

A WOMAN has been locked in quarantine on a dream trip to Thailand after an outbreak of a deadly virus.

Kerry Sue Newman, a jeweller from Brighton, travelled to South East Asia earlier this month but is now being kept in a solitary hospital room in the seaside district of Hua Hin for two weeks.

The 30-year-old was staying at Por Promin Muay Thai camp and fulfilling a dream to spend six months living in Thailand when she was picked up by Thai authorities.

They said they had to take her into quarantine and has been told she is not allowed to leave.

Thailand is currently on high alert as cases of the potentially fatal Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) have been reported in neighbouring countries.

An outbreak in the region has killed a total of 27 people and is mainly focused in South Korea with 175 confirmed cases.

A total of 2,805 people placed in isolation and more than 2,000 schools have been closed.

Thailand had its first confirmed case of Mers last week in a 75-year-old man from Oman who had travelled to Bangkok for treatment for a heart condition.

The officials revealed to Miss Newman that she had been sitting just two rows behind this man after her plane made a stopover in Oman before arriving in Thailand over the weekend.

Miss Newman said: “The first night was somewhat traumatic as I realised I was practically trapped in this one room that is virtually like a cell. Yet I have done absolutely nothing wrong to be locked up and imprisoned like this.

“Also there is a camera in my room so I am being watched, I feel like I am in some sort of strange Thai style Big Brother.

“Once I relaxed and realised that this is for the good of the rest of Thailand, and in fact the rest of the world, everything became a lot easier.”

Miss Newman will remain in quarantine until June 29 as the virus has a two week incubation period.

Mers is a flu-like condition with symptoms similar to those found in SARs and has also been confirmed in animals including camels and bats – with the first recorded human case being reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012

It can cause symptoms such as fever, a cough, breathing difficulties, chest pains, headaches, nausea and pneumonia.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said they are aware of Miss Newman’s case.

Most confirmed cases of Mers come from the Middle East but earlier this year the latest outbreak started in South East Asia with the first confirmed case on May 20 – when a 68-year-old man returning to the country was diagnosed.

Professor Stefan Elbe, director of the Centre for Global Health Policy at the University of Sussex, said: “There are 25 countries currently reporting Mers cases. The majority of these cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, but some have also been reported in Europe, north Africa, Asia and the United States.

“Often those affected are people with travel histories to the Middle East, or people who have been in close contact with such people after returning home.

“The World Health Organisation convenes an expert committee to identify and announce when they believe a disease poses a wider threat to the world.

“The committee has concluded that Mers does not currently pose such a threat.”

Dr. Richard Pebody of Public Health England said human to human transmission of Mers is rare.

He said: “Although any transmission risk is very small, as a precaution, we contact UK passengers on a plane who are in the vicinity of a case to follow-up, provide information and reassurance.”

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