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New virus cases plateau at around 10 in Korea
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.04.23 12:52
  • Updated 2020.04.24 14:41
  • comments 0

Korea reported another single-digit figure of new coronavirus cases on Thursday, marking the daily tally hovering around 10 for six consecutive days.

The nation reported eight more Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 10,702 as of midnight Wednesday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of the new cases were imported infections. The death toll rose by two to 240, and the fatality rate stayed at 2.2 percent.

Hospitals have cured and discharged 8,411 patients, up 134 from a day earlier, marking the recovery rate of 78.5 percent. The nation has carried out tests on 583,971 people since Jan. 3.

Amid the clear signs of slowing new infections, the country is cautiously moving to ease some of its stringent restrictions, allowing some facilities, including outdoor sports courts, to reopen. The public health authorities, however, have extended social distancing for another two weeks to May 5 and plans to shift to a “life quarantine regime” after that if the new cases continue to plateau.

Public health officials said Thursday that they plan to secure additional medical resources – personnel and facilities – to prepare for the “second wave” of infections in fall and winter.

Besides, the Presidential office and government are speeding up the drawn-out process to provide emergency relief funds to coronavirus-hit families. President Moon Jae-in is examining the exercise of his emergency finance and economic order in case there are any further delays in the payment due to discords between the government and ruling party or between the governing and opposition parties.

The government has decided to give 1 million won ($820) to all Koreans and expect well-to-do people to return the money in the form of voluntary donation.

As part of its efforts to develop vaccines and treatments of Covid-19, the KCDC said it has recently conducted tests to know whether the virus can be detected in recovered patients even after the antibody is formed. As a result, the neutralizing antibodies were formed in patients who recovered from the virus, suggesting a possibility that the patients may not be re-infected even if they are exposed to the virus again after full recovery.

“The formation of neutralizing antibodies may play a significant role in developing the Covid-19 vaccine,” it said.

The analysis of the test results of 25 patients showed that all the patients had developed antibodies after infection. The antibodies can neutralize the same virus from invading the human body. Among the 25, 12 were reconfirmed of the virus after recovery. Still, the test confirmed that the virus fragments left in the patients were dead, according to the KCDC.

“The test result implies that reconfirmation of the virus may not be a big problem if the antibody is formed enough in the body,” it said.

Meanwhile, physicians from various fields of Mount Sinai Health System in New York have confirmed blood clotting in Covid-19 patients’ organs, according to Reuters. New York is planning to add blood coagulation therapy in the treating protocol for the coronavirus.

“It is very surprising that the Covid-19 virus causes blood clotting, and other doctors are saying that the virus can damage the body and organs more than just lung disease does,” Mount Sinai Health System Professor J. Mocco was quoted as saying.

Of the 583,971 suspected patients the nation has tested as of midnight Wednesday, the results were out for 573,832. Among them, 563,130 suspected patients were not infected by the virus, and 10,139 people are waiting for their results. The cumulative confirmation rate stayed at 1.9 percent.


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