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As many as 1,465 cases and 293 to 520 deaths from MERS-CoV may have been averted.
The most recent imported case to South Korea involved diarrhea but no fever and few respiratory symptoms at first.
All 21 close contacts of a recent Korean MERS case are asymptomatic, the agency says.
In 2015, an imported case sparked outbreaks that sickened 186 people.
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