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[2019-Novel Coronavirus] Local hospitals maintain hyper-tension state, begin to restrict visitors
  • By Choi Gwang-seok
  • Published 2020.01.26 19:18
  • Updated 2020.01.27 12:53
  • comments 0

With the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, which began in Wuhan, China, local hospitals have started to take additional precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

According to the China National Health Commission, the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in mainland China increased to 1,975 as of midnight Sunday. The death toll has also risen to 56.

In Korea, the fear that the coronavirus might spread in the country is growing as the nation confirmed its third infected patient in the early hours of Sunday. To prevent the possible influx of the new coronavirus, local hospitals have started to restrict all visitors except for one registered guardian per patient.

A thermal sensor camera was installed at the main entrance of Seoul National University Hospital on Sunday. Local hospitals have been strengthening their precautionary measures to prevent possible outbreaks of the new coronavirus.

Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) was the earliest take such a restrictive move after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced the confirmation of the second coronavirus-infected patient on Friday.

The hospital has also sent a text to all patients scheduled for outpatient treatment on what to do if they show symptoms related to the new coronavirus while strengthening its internal access monitoring system.

“We installed thermal sensor cameras at the entrance of major structures, such as the main building of the hospital, children’s hospital, and cancer center,” the hospital said. “If an abnormal reaction is detected, the SNUH Infection Control Center, which is on emergency standby, will conduct a health checkup for the patient.” If the patient is suspected of having the new coronavirus, the hospital plans to closely cooperate with the epidemiological investigators from the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

If necessary, the hospital also plans to transfer the patient to the government-designated inpatient treatment bed for confirmation and treatment. SNUH was designated as a medical institution operating an inpatient treatment bed in 2009, after establishing its infectious disease management facilities, including negative pressure rooms.

A poster at Samsung Medical Center announces its plans to restrict visitors, excluding one approved guardian per patient, on Friday. The measure is part of the hospital’s effort to prevent any possible outbreaks of the new coronavirus.

Samsung Medical Center has also decided to ban all visitors from the hospital, excluding a registered guardian, to prevent any spread of the new coronavirus on Friday.

The hospital has explained its plans on limiting visitors to hospitalized patients and guardians and sent a text message notifying patients to be admitted into the hospital.

Asan Medical Center (AMC) started to restrict visitors from Thursday. The hospital has not yet put a timeline on when the restriction will end and plans to take further action based on the virus spread and government announcements.

Notably, AMC plans to investigate travel, fever, and respiratory symptoms for all outpatients visiting the hospital after the holiday ends on Monday.

Severance Hospital has also placed thermometers at the entrance of its main hospital and cancer center and is restricting visitors from visiting patients.

Government and public hospitals, too, are on high alert to contain the virus.

Seoul Medical Center has strengthened its visitor manual similar to the one it imposed during the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) crisis in 2015.

Staff members at Seoul Medical Center put up notices telling visitors to contact the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if anyone shows symptoms of the new coronavirus on Friday.

All visitors were provided with masks and are obliged to wear them, and the visitor management was greatly strengthened by operating a thermal sensor. Besides, the hospital is operating a forward checkup center to prevent the spread of any possible outbreak of the new coronavirus.

“When you go out, wear a mask and cover your mouth with clothes when coughing,” the hospital said. “People should also wash their hands with soap for 30 seconds or more.

People feeling ill should immediately contact its emergency call center by dialing 1339 before directly visiting a hospital, the hospital added.


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