TIME

In an effort to stave off economic troubles caused by panic over the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak, South Korea’s central bank lowered its seven-day repurchase rate to an unprecedented 1.5% Thursday, the fourth such reduction in 10 months, Bloomberg reports.

Authorities meanwhile announced Wednesday that two more people had died of the respiratory ailment, bringing the death toll to nine and the total infections to 122, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As many as 3,000 people have been quarantined to date, and economists fear that a bleak mood will deaden any upward momentum the country’s already-embattled economy might have been gaining.

This is the second straight year that the country has faced sudden threats to consumer sentiment, after last year’s sinking of the Sewol ferry also traumatized both the country’s people and its markets. Similarly, experts fear that worries over MERS could freeze domestic consumption, adding…

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