The second Korean coronavirus patient contacted 69 people before being confirmed, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said Friday after conducting an epidemiological survey on the 55-year-old man.
According to the KCDC, the patient arrived in Korea on Wednesday. He visited a Chinese medical institution around Jan. 19 because of a sore throat that started on Jan. 10, while working in Wuhan, China. The patient was put under active surveillance after the airport quarantine checkpoint confirmed he had a fever and a sore throat.
The patient was confirmed to have the coronavirus through a screening test at a public health center on Thursday. “The patient is currently hospitalized at the National Medical Center, designated as an institution with an inpatient treatment bed,” the KCDC said. “
The interim results of the KCDC's epidemiological survey included information such as the path the patient took and the number of people with whom he had contact.
“As of now, we have confirmed that the patient had come into contact with a total of 69 people,” the agency said. “While the number may change, depending on the progress of our investigation, we are checking if they show any symptoms of the coronavirus, by putting them under active surveillance for the next two weeks.”
The 69 people include 56 passengers who sat in the vicinity of the second coronavirus patient in the plane, four airport employees, a taxi driver, a neighbor, five public health center employees, and two family members.
The KCDC defined people that came into contact with the coronavirus patients as passengers who set in the same row and three rows, front and back, of the patient and those who lives, works, treated, or transported the patient in close proximity without wearing personal protective equipment such as a mask.
The agency has also said that it plans to intensify quarantine for all flights coming in from China.
“As non-stop flights from Wuhan Airport have been shut down, there is a risk of possible carriers of the new coronavirus coming in from different parts of China,” KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said. “We plan to expand the quarantine procedure to all Chinese visitors.”
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