The heir apparent of the Samsung business empire, Lee Jae Young, publicly apologized on Tuesday after the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, which has claimed 27 lives in South Korea, was traced back to one of the company-owned hospitals in the country, reported Bloomberg.
Out of the 175 MERS cases reported in South Korea, 85 were found to have been infected with the virus at the Samsung Medical Center, which was considered to be the country's best hospital until the outbreak, according to the New York Times.
Lee said that the company would do everything in its power to contain the outbreak and revamp care at the hospital, located in Seoul's posh Gangnam district.
"Our Samsung Medical Center was unable to stop the MERS infection and its spread, and caused too much suffering and concern to the public. I bow my head in apology," Lee said during the press conference, according to Reuters.
"I offer my sincere apology and deep regrets to the patients, bereaved families and all others who have suffered from the disease," he added, according to The Korea Herald.
"My father is also hospitalized at the hospital. I can understand your sufferings and concerns," he said. Lee's father and Samsung Chairman, Lee Kun-hee has been receiving treatment at the hospital since May last year following a heart attack.
The Samsung Medical Center faced a lot of criticism after a MERS patient had been kept in the hospital's emergency ward for two-and-a-half days before being diagnosed, exposing the virus to about 900 people, including the hospital staff.
Lee also announced that Samsung would work in conjunction with global medical organizations for the development of vaccines and treatments to combat the MERS virus as well as other infectious diseases.