Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun said on Sunday that the government would intensify screening on people who enter Korea from nations that are experiencing the local spread of new coronavirus.
Chung stressed that the government would examine review entry restriction measures for other high-risk regions in China, and provide travel history for medical institutions to detect suspected patients in early stages.
The government enforced a ban on Tuesday last week on all foreigners who had visited or stayed in Hubei Province. The measures will likely expand according to virus-spreading situations in China.
Prime Minister Chung, noting that there are about 200 Koreans left in Wuhan, the epicenter of the ongoing epidemic, who wish to return to Korea, said the government “plans to send an extra flight to bring them home safely.” The government is likely to send the third charted plane as soon as the officials of the two governments finish consultation.
Earlier in the day, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said it confirmed three more new coronavirus patients, bringing the total to 27.
The KCDC said that the 25th patient is a 73-year-old Korean woman who was presumed to be infected by a family member, and a further epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
The patient has been transported to the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital after developing related symptoms last Thursday and responded positively to the detection test. The patient is currently quarantined and in stable condition.
The 25th patient seems to have been infected by her son and daughter-in-law, who had traveled Guangdong Province in China for two months and returned to Korea in late January and were confirmed as 26th and 27th patient, respectively, later in the day.
As one more patient was discharged from hospital after fully recovered from the new coronavirus as the third such case, there were 24 patients receiving treatments in isolated wards as of 7 p.m. on Sunday.
In China, the coronavirus death toll has risen to 811, surpassing the toll from the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic of 2002-3, according to official data released on Sunday. The SARS epidemic, which also began in China, killed 774 people worldwide.
Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in visited Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, on Sunday, encouraging Koreans from Wuhan quarantined there and appreciating residents’ hospitality shown in accepting their compatriots.
Concerned about the new epidemic’ adverse effects on the already struggling economy, Moon also said, “Ordinary people might as well lead regular economic lives, including consumption, as always.”
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