UPDATE : Tuesday, July 14, 2020
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‘Korea needs massive COVID-19 screening center’
  • By Kwak Sung-sun
  • Published 2020.02.24 14:52
  • Updated 2020.02.25 11:38
  • comments 0

As the demand for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) test skyrocketed after the number of newly confirmed cases shot up, the government should build a massive screening center as quickly as possible, healthcare experts said.

A screening center in a remote space, such as a sports complex, will be a place where a suspected patient via a private vehicle gets tested for COVID-19 infection and goes home for a self-quarantine. This method will minimize the contact with healthcare workers and the general public, and reduce hospitals’ difficulty collecting test samples from suspected patients, experts said.

Healthcare experts and ruling Democratic Party officials hold a meeting to discuss measures to cope with the spike in coronavirus outbreak at the office of the DP floor leader Lee In-young on Monday.

Their advice came at a meeting of healthcare experts at the office of the ruling Democratic Party’s floor leader on Monday morning.

Ki Mo-ran, a professor at the National Cancer Center, and Lee Wang-jun, chairman of Myongji Hospital, said the nation needs a large-sized screening center to test people with a potential COVID-19 infection. Local medical institutions have reached their limit to take samples from suspected patients at isolated examination rooms and quarantine them until the test results come out, they said.

“There are so many people who need COVID-19 testing. Those exposed to the Shincheonji Church alone are more than 1,000. If they have to line up for tests at isolation examination rooms, it’s impossible,” Ki said. “If we empty a sports complex and put up a tent for testing, suspected patients can come there on a private car and get the samples taken inside the car.”

If the patients are told to go home after sample collection, medical institutions do not have to isolate them, and many people do not have to wait for testing at a hospital door, she went on to say.

“The government should make a facility for a quick test. All the current procedures, including sample collection at isolated exam rooms, waiting, and quarantine are too confusing,” she added.

Lee said, “As Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province in an urgent situation, we need to build a large screening center, at least in this region.”

In the mid-to-long term, the most effective way to contain the new coronavirus, which has no cure, is to detect patients early and make them quarantine themselves, he emphasized.

“We have to open a screening center where physicians can collect samples in massive numbers. The center should not be near a medical institution and it should be located in every region divided by public health centers,” Lee said. “If manpower of public health centers cannot meet the demand, we should search for ways to build a screening center by quickly supplying additional staff.”


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