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S. Korea Bolsters Quarantine Efforts as 2nd Coronavirus Infection Confirmed

#Hot Issues of the Week l 2020-01-26


ⓒKBS News

South Korean quarantine authorities have found another person infected with the new coronavirus from China, raising the total number of confirmed cases in South Korea to two.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(KCDC) said on Friday that a 55-year-old South Korean man tested positive for the respiratory disease.

He had been working in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Before boarding a flight to Gimpo International Airport in Seoul on Wednesday, he was said to have had sore throat and other symptoms.

South Korea on Monday reported its first case of the coronavirus in a Chinese woman who arrived at Incheon International Airport the day prior.

As the massive Lunar New Year migration began in and out of China and in South Korea, the Korean disease control authority said it was doing all it can to contain the spread.

"Because it is believed the virus is spreading from Wuhan, when planes from Wuhan arrive, we go out to the arrival gate to conduct one-on-one tests on passengers. However, almost half of all people coming into South Korea are coming from China, so it is very difficult to closely monitor everyone. We strengthened the quarantine process for those coming from cities with higher levels of danger, but for the rest we conduct tests when they arrive at the immigration zone."

The World Health Organization(WHO) said for the time being it was holding off on declaring the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

“I'm not declaring a public health emergency of international concern today. As it was yesterday, the emergency committee was divided over whether the outbreak of novel coronavirus represents a PHEIC or not. Make no mistake. This is – though -- an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”

The WHO Emergency Committee was said to have been divided on whether to declare a global emergency.

"... all of the deaths have been reported in China. With other cases reported in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the United States of America and Vietnam. We are aware of media reports of suspected cases in other countries, but those cases are still being investigated.”

The KCDC advises those who suspect possible infection in South Korea to call 1339 before visiting a hospital.

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