The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that the nation recorded 284 new cases of the novel coronavirus and two deaths raising the total to 1,261, with most of the cases arising from Daegu.
Of the 284 new cases, 235 are in Daegu and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province. Nearly all provinces and major cities have also reported some infections, however, with an additional four new cases occurring in Seoul, 16 cases in Busan, and nine in Gyeonggi Province.
A foreigner died of the coronavirus for the first time here on Tuesday. According to the KCDC, a 35-year-old Mongolian male, who had a history of liver ailments, died at a hospital on the outskirts of Seoul. The patient entered Korea on Feb. 12 for a liver transplant after suffering from hepatocirrhosis and end-stage renal failure. Details of the exact cause of his death have not been disclosed, and doctors said the patient might have died because of his underlying illness.
As the number of COVID-19 patients continues to grow, negative sentiment toward the government has risen. A petition that called for impeaching President Moon Jae-in has got more than 370,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
"President Moon Jae-in's response to COVID-19 has made me feel that he is the president of China and not Korea," the petitioner said. "In Korea, the prices of masks soared more than 10 times and are mostly sold out, making it difficult for people to buy masks due to mask shortage. However, the president has provided three million masks to China, and he is not taking any action against a surge in mask prices.”
The petitioner also criticized the government's reluctant attitude toward banning the entry of Chinese nationals.
"Even though 62 countries have imposed strong sanctions, including banning entry for Chinese nationals and banning foreigners who recently visited China, the government has been lukewarm toward taking any action by citing international laws," the petitioner said.
"However, after many countries around the world have imposed a ban on Chinese nationals, the government came up with a measure to ban the entry of only those foreigners who visited Hubei Province."
President Moon is expected to hold a meeting with the leaders of ruling and opposition parties this week to ask for bipartisan support for measures to halt the spread of the virus and contain its economic fallout.
As of 5 p.m., Wednesday, the number of people checked for the virus and under quarantine reached 20,716. The nation has screened 52,292 people for COVID-19 since Jan. 3, with 31,576 testing negative and 24 discharged from hospital fully recovered. Aside from the 12 dead patients, 1,225 are receiving treatments in isolation.
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