The health authorities are examining the possibility of discharging the second confirmed new coronavirus patient as the patient's symptoms have drastically improved.
|KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong explains the latest development of the new coronavirus outbreak during a briefing at Government Complex Sejong on Monday.|
"The second confirmed patient has shown improvement in the symptoms of pneumonia," said Jung Eun-kyeong, the director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a briefing on Monday. "The patient has also tested negative for the new coronavirus in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method developed by the KCDC."
The hospital has stopped antiviral treatment for the patient and is considering discharging the patient, Jung added.
Hospitals have been periodically conducting PCR tests on confirmed patients to check if there are any viruses left in their bodies.
If these tests prove negative after 24 hours, the patient can leave quarantine. However, release from quarantine does not immediately lead to a discharge from the hospital as such a decision has to be determined by medical workers after taking into account many situations, including patient health.
"As this case is the first discharge decision, we will need to clarify the discharge criteria," Jung said. "We will consult with experts, including clinical and epidemiological experts."
China's data suggests that older patients or patients with underlying diseases have a worse prognosis. However, the KCDC does not know yet if the patient has an underlying disease, Jung added.
The second confirmed patient, a 55-year-old Korean man, was diagnosed with the new coronavirus on Jan. 26 after entering into the nation from Wuhan, China, on Jan. 22, and has been receiving treatment at the National Medical Center.
Regarding the discharge of other confirmed patients, however, Jung said that it is hard to tell when they will be able to leave the hospital.
"All of the confirmed patients in Korea are in their early stages, so it is hard to say how long the treatment will last," Jung said.
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