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Korea sees spike in COVID-19 patients with 20 new cases
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.02.19 16:35
  • Updated 2020.02.20 14:40
  • comments 0

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) on Wednesday said that it has confirmed 20 more cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to 51.

According to the agency, 15 new patients reside in Daegu and are presumed to have contracted the illness through the 31st patient, a 61-year-old Korean female without records of international travel diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on Tuesday.

“Fourteen attended the same church as the 31st patient, while one had contact with the patient at a hospital,” the KCDC said. Three patients were also confirmed in nearby North Gyeongsang Province. Two of them attended the same church as the 31st patient, who has proved a "super-spreader."

Aside from the 18 novel coronavirus patients in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the KCDC has also confirmed that an 11-year-old daughter of the 20th novel patient tested positive for the illness, and a 77-year-old man living in Seongdong-gu, Seoul, has also been diagnosed with the disease.

The man, who is also known to have not traveled abroad, visited Hanyang University Medical Center with a high fever on Tuesday. The hospital conducted computed tomography (CT) and confirmed that the patient had pneumonia. He then was moved to a screening clinic where he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

“All newly infected people have been placed in quarantine and are undergoing treatment,” the KCDC said.

However, the newly diagnosed patients – 29th, 30th, and 31st patients -- have brought up additional concerns on the public as they have confirmed the possibility of infections of the novel coronavirus that are not linked to existing spreads, which means that those patients are judged to have contracted the COVID-19 virus without traveling abroad or coming into contact with other infected patients.

While admitting that it is not clear how some recent patients contracted the virus, KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong stressed that the country needs to tighten quarantine controls over arrivals from abroad and self-quarantine rules.

The KCDC said that it plans to reveal the status of the 20 people that occurred on Wednesday as soon as possible.

The number of people being checked for the virus and under quarantine came to 1,030 as of early Wednesday, up from 818 the day before, the KCDC said in a release. South Korea has screened 10,411 people for COVID-19 since Jan. 3, with 9,335 testing negative and 12 people having been discharged from quarantine after making full recoveries.


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