Kansas coach Bill Self said Monday that he is receiving daily updates on the deadly MERS outbreak that has plagued South Korea in recent weeks. As the death toll rises — it’s now 16, according to reports Monday — the concern over MERS, short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, has spread to the upcoming World University Games, which are scheduled to begin in Gwangju in early July.
Kansas, which is set to represent the United States in the event’s basketball tournament, is scheduled to leave for South Korea on June 28. For the moment, Self said he doesn’t anticipate any problems.
“I’m not concerned about it,” Self said. “If there was any danger at all, the U.S. doctors (and) delegation won’t allow anybody to go. I’m not the least bit concerned yet. Of course, if it becomes a concern, obviously, that would take place then. But all indications our, from what I’ve heard, that is the longest of long shots.”
Kansas officials previously said that the U.S. Delegation for the World University Games is monitoring the ongoing health scare.
According to reports, the MERS outbreak has resulted in close to 100,000 canceled tourist visits to the country. The health issue has also caused schools to close and wreaked havoc on the local economy. According to the World Health Organization, much of the outbreak has been centered near Seoul, which is located more than 150 miles north of Gwangju.
“I know we’ve had different scares going on here in this country, most recently, I guess, Ebola, where there was a few different cases in a few different areas of the United States,” Self said. “I think this particular situation is pretty isolated and it’s a long ways away from Gwangju. It doesn’t mean something can’t happen or spread, but I think right now they feel pretty good about it.”
Canadian team to arrive Friday
Kansas is set to play Team Canada in two exhibition games next week at Sprint Center, but first, the Canadian team will arrive in Lawrence on Friday for a weekend of workouts. Self said Monday that both teams — each headed to South Korea — would work out separately and together before the first exhibition game June 23. The teams will also play June 26.