The government said Sunday it will keep foreigners who’ve been in China's Hubei Province in the past two weeks from entering the country in a drastic measure to stem further spread of the new coronavirus here.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the entry ban would take effect on Tuesday. Seoul made the decision, as major countries moved to block entries from entire China to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus to their countries.
Meanwhile, the Korean pavilion in an international fashion center in Wuhan –called “The Place” -- is drawing attention here as four Korean confirmed patients were learned to have worked or visited there, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The KCDC confirmed that the third patient, 54-year-old Korean male, worked at The Place. The seventh and eighth confirmed patients worked together also at The Place. Epidemiological investigations are also ongoing to identify if any other confirmed patients have visited there. The 15th patient is also related to the third, seventh, and eighth patients because the four either visited or worked at The Place in Wuhan International Fashion Center.
"Although the spaces the patients visited and worked are different, we think them to be related with The Place,” KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said. "We see several confirmed patients visiting or working there and are investigating how many Koreans were in The Place."
The eighth patient, a 62-year-old woman who worked in The Place was classified as a suspected patient on Jan. 28 and quarantined once, but the test result showed negative and returned to the home on the same day. The following day, KCDC reclassified her as a suspected patient. She visited an E-Mart store, the largest retailer and a restaurant until quarantine.
There are 72 contacts made by the eighth patient and three of them showed symptoms. Among the three, two responded negatively to the test while the test on the other one is ongoing.
Jung said, "The viral exposure to local communities increased because the eighth patient firstly responded negative and released, but later confirmed to be infected."
The KCDC plans to expand the case definition as the number of confirmed patients continues to increase, and secondary and tertiary infections are emerging. The case definition is a guideline to distinguish between confirmed patients, suspected patients, and patients under investigation (PUI) related to the new coronavirus at airports and medical institutions.
The case definition is currently being revised based on the results of numerous published studies and the epidemiological, and revise the case definition immediately after the review, KCDC officials said.
Besides, the Central Preventive Task Force (CPTK) announced that they expanded screening clinics to 532 on Friday.
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