Korea’s new virus cases are concentrating in the Seoul metro region, as cluster infections follow one after another day after day in the capital city and its surrounding area.
“Of the 426 new Covid-19 cases since the start of June, 412, or 96.7 percent, have occurred in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province,” Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo said in the daily task force meeting on Thursday. “As the greater Seoul area is densely populated and many people move from there to other areas, infections there can spread nationwide at any time.”
Following the cumulative total of 1,048 new virus cases in Seoul, that of Gyeonggi Province has also totaled 992 and is likely to reach 1,000 soon.
Korea added 45 new cases, including 40 local infections, raising the total to 11,947 as of midnight Wednesday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. All local infection cases came from the Seoul metro region, home to about half of the nation’s population of 50 million.
Forty-three more people recovered, raising the number of cured patients to 10,654, with 1,017 receiving treatment. The death toll remained at 276. The nation has tested nearly 1.07 million suspected patients since Jan. 3, indicating that roughly one out of 50 Koreans received the diagnostic test.
Most of the recent local spreads are tied to a set of clusters infections from various community gatherings, including small churches, door-to-door marketing firms selling health supplements, AND a table tennis club. The number of new infections related to the marketing firm alone has risen to 106 as of Thursday morning.
The public health authorities said they are struggling to sever the links of spread before they form new infection links but are finding it difficult to do so as the speed of infections is too fast.
A report from the Central Disease Control Headquarters shows that it takes an average of three days for an infected person to infect another person, which is too short a time for the quarantine authorities to confirm the infected person and conduct investigations on all the people he or she contacted.
Moreover, as most cases start from an asymptomatic patient with no or mild symptoms, it is hard to detect an infected patient during the early stages.
“If we fail to quarantine the patient’s contacts during the infection period, we can only confirm the patient after the virus has caused a chain infection,” KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyong acknowledged on Wednesday. “Right now, there is a considerable delay in diagnosing an infected person, meaning we have to speed up confirming infected patients to prevent further transmission
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