South Korea has closed two hospitals that treated patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), in a bid to restrict the spread of the disease in the country.

Approximately 126 people in the country have been infected with the respiratory disease and nearly 11 died, after the first person was diagnosed with the disease three weeks ago, reported Reuters.

According to government officials, the two facilities have been sealed with approximately 133 people inside, including patients and staff.

"According to government officials, the two facilities have been sealed with approximately 133 people inside, including patients and staff."

The facilities are expected to be sealed for 11 days, providing the incubation period for the virus, noted officials.

A city government official was quoted by Reuters saying: "No patients can get out of their rooms.

"Nurses in protective gear are giving them food. No one can get in from outside."

Claimed to be the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia, the disease was first detected in humans in 2012.

According to the news agency, a 68-year-old man carried the virus from the Middle East to South Korea and visited various health centres for treatment before being diagnosed with the disease.

MERS, also known as Camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection caused by the newly identified MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

MERS-CoV, a betacoronavirus derived from bats and camels, was shown to have antibodies to MERS-CoV, but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified.