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Club-linked cases continue ahead of additional school reopening
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.05.26 13:56
  • Updated 2020.05.26 20:06
  • comments 0

Korea managed to contain new Covid-19 cases to below 20 again on Monday.

However, health officials remained jittery due to continuous outbreaks tied to cluster infections in Itaewon, Seoul, a day before the additional reopening of schools.

Out of the 19 new virus cases reported as of midnight Monday, 16 were local infections, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The accumulative total of caseload rose to 11,225. An additional 49 people were released from quarantine after making full recoveries, pushing the number of cured patients to 10,275 with 681 under treatment. The country reported two more virus fatalities, raising the death toll to 269.

The number of confirmed cases related to the cluster infections in Itaewon, the multicultural nightlife district in the capital city, has surpassed 230 since a 29-year-old man caught the virus at one of the clubs there. One instructor at a private educational institution has become the latest super-spreader by lying about his profession as well as his visits to Itaewon and having infected at least a few dozen people.

Starting from Wednesday, about 2.37 million kindergartners and elementary and secondary school students will go to school for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak. To be affected by the second-phase school reopening will be second graders at high schools, seniors at middle schools, firs- and second-grade students at elementary schools and preschool children. Some 440,000 high school seniors began to attend schools from May 20.

However, at least 450 kindergartens and schools with confirmed virus cases among their students and teachers in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, and North Gyeongsang Province decided to put off their reopening.

At a daily briefing, Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo said that the government would discuss preventive measures related to about 390,000 undocumented immigrants who have difficulty accessing medical services such as diagnostic tests for fear of revealing their status as illegal aliens.

Covid-19 patients often show mild or no symptoms early on, causing them to spread the virus “silently,” without knowing their infection

The government intends to strengthen preventive measures and inspection on illegal immigrants who usually live in groups, as control over the spread of infections in the blind spots could be tough.

KCDC has announced the health authorities would conduct tests for these undocumented immigrants free of charge and without asking their status. Still, the share of these illegal aliens coming forth remains low.

Starting today, people who don’t wear masks can hardly use public transport, such as bus, taxi, and subway. Drivers themselves have to wear masks and can refuse passengers without masks. In the case of subways, where drivers cannot check passengers, on-site staff and crew members will induce unmasked people to wear one. From Wednesday, all international and domestic airline passengers must also wear a mask.

Thanks to a government program to provide financial help for corona virus-hit families, about 95 percent of households eligible for emergency relief funds have received the money, ranging from 400,000 won to 1 million per family depending on the number of family members. The total payment has neared 13 trillion won ($10.5 billion).


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