New virus cases fell back to around 10 as of midnight Wednesday from a 10-day high of 32 the previous day, but health officials remained attentive against spreads from emerging clusters to newly opened schools.
Korea reported 12 new Covid-19 patients on Thursday, raising the total to 11,122, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Ten were local infections. One more patient died, pushing up the death toll to 264 and keeping the mortality rate at 2.37 percent. As 69 new fully recovered patients were freed from, the number of cured cases rose to 10,135, showing a recovery rate of 91 percent.
Most high schools, which started a new semester on Wednesday about 80 days later than scheduled, pushed ahead with the mock scholastic ability test on Thursday morning, despite the sporadic occurrences of Covid-19 symptoms among seniors throughout the country who went to their schools ahead of lower graders.
About 77.6 percent of 2,365 high schools, 1,835, in the nation applied to conduct the test. The 66 high schools in Incheon, where they had to close their gates as two students were confirmed of infection on Wednesday, are carrying out the tests online without grading. Nine schools in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, which sent all students back home after a virus case occurred on Wednesday, reopened and conducted the national exam.
Students took a fever check first before entering the campus and measured their temperature measurement with a thermal imaging camera after entering into the building. They were required to wear a mask the whole time during the exam.
At a daily task force meeting, Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo said the government would tighten coronavirus responses as schools resumed offline classes for students.
“The Ministry of Education is operating a 24-hour emergency system and rechecking schools’ preventive measures,” Park said. “The health and educational authorities will also strengthen cooperation so that we can block the source of infection early by taking diagnostic tests and epidemiological investigations as soon as possible.”
The health authorities will review facilities that have been overlooked and revise control measures to respond to club-linked infections that started from Itaewon, the multicultural nightlife district in the capital city, which emerged as the largest epicenter by infecting 206 people. Community spreads are sporadically occurring at places, including coin karaoke rooms and internet cafes frequented by young students.
Meanwhile, a nurse who was confirmed Covid-19 in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, is a friend of the first confirmed nurse at Samsung Medical Center (SMC), whose infection route remains unclear KCDC said.
The health authorities have been conducting diagnostic tests on 1,207 SMC employees, including operating room staff, dormitory staff, and those who contacted nurses to find the infection source but have yet to find the reason.
Among the 1,207 people, 641 showed a negative response to the test. Ninety-nine medical staff, including 33 nurses who worked with the four infected nurses in the operating room of the main building, also responded negatively. Health authorities confirmed that 17 out of 25 patients who received operation did not have the virus, and the remaining eight are waiting for the result.
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