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Imported virus cases hit 4-month high in Korea
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.07.13 11:45
  • Updated 2020.07.13 14:38
  • comments 0

Korea's new Covid-19 cases rose back above 60 on Sunday, as imported infections hit the highest level in nearly four months.

The nation confirmed 62 new coronavirus patients, including 43 imported cases, as of midnight Sunday, pushing up the total to 13,479, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The number of people discharged from quarantine climbed up to 12,204, up 24 from Monday.

No additional virus-linked deaths occurred, keeping the death toll at 289. Korea has tested 1,408,312 suspected patients since Jan. 3. Among them, 1,372,988 people tested negative with the other 21,845 awaiting results.

The number of foreign arrivals recorded the highest number since March 25, when the nation confirmed 51 imported infections. The rise in imported cases reflected the surge of Covid-19 patients abroad. Korea has recorded a double-digit number of foreign inflows for the 18th consecutive day since June 26.

Under a new anti-coronavirus measure, travelers arriving from four high-risk nations -- Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan -- must submit a certification, which shows they have tested negative for the virus dated within 48 hours of their departure time, from Monday. Foreign sailors entering through ports also will have to enter the temporary isolated facilities in Busan and Yeosu for two weeks.

However, if sailors have a fixed departure schedule via aircraft or ship before completing their quarantine process, the government plans to allow them to leave the quarantine facility on condition that they will take a separate vehicle prepared by the shipping company and go directly to the airport or port.

"In addition to the four countries, the government is closely monitoring the outbreak trend of 11 countries," Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo said Sunday. "If any of the countries see a large number of outbreaks, the government plans to mandate the Covid-19 certification on them."

On the local front, 16 out of 19 infections were reported in the greater Seoul area, including Incheon and Gyeonggi Province.

Six more people were confirmed of infection in the southwestern city of Gwangju. While many cluster infections in other areas were tied to churches, Gwangju is linked to a Buddhist temple. More recently, infections from a door-to-door business have also spread throughout the city as cases linked to the establishment reached 135.

With door-to-door businesses becoming a recurrent infection epicenter for the country, the government urged citizens to report any illegal door-to-door firms that do not comply with quarantine measures.

"The government is trying to manage the quarantine of the door-to-door sales offices, but are finding it difficult to contain the virus as illegal and unregistered visit marketing companies are out of reach quarantine authorities and local governments," Minister Park said. “The patient who spread the virus of the metropolitan area to Daejeon was a person who visited a door-to-door office in the metropolitan area, while the spread in Gwangju city also originated from a doorstep-selling firm."

Park asked citizens to play private quarantine officers' role by reporting door-to-door sales meetings that do not comply with the quarantine rules to the “E-people,” an electronic whistleblowing system he added.


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