Concerns have been raised about a possible second wave of coronavirus in South Korea as the R rate in the Seoul region rises to 1.8.
Of the country The leading infectious disease expert is concerned about the speed of virus transmission in the densely populated capital, where around 30 to 50 new infections have been reported daily since late May.
Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the average infectivity rate of virus carriers in the Seoul metropolitan area – where half of the 51 million people live in South Korea – was about three times higher than in the rest of the country.
She said the basic number of virus carriers – which measures the number of infections caused by a person – in the capital region has reached 1.7 or 1.8 in the past few weeks. Any number over 1 indicates a growing epidemic.
This graph shows the number of new coronavirus cases per day in South Korea. The numbers have increased recently
There are new fears of a second wave of coronavirus in South Korea when it turned out that the R rate in the Seoul region rose to 1.8 (picture)
She asked Seoul residents to stay home for the weekend, saying that there was "great concern" that increased public activity would lead to a massive spread of the virus.
Health workers have sought to identify hundreds of infections related to e-commerce workers, church gatherings, older door-to-door salespeople, and club goers.
A few weeks ago, South Korea celebrated its hard-won success against Covid-19, resolved social detachment, reopened schools, and promoted a technology-driven anti-virus campaign that President Moon Jae-in called "K quarantine."
However, the new cases have prompted health authorities to warn that action must now be taken to stop a second wave.
South Korea's disease control and prevention centers reported 56 new cases today and 45 new cases on Thursday.
"Given the rapid transmission of Covid-19, contact tracking is limited to slow the spread," said Yoon Taeho, a senior health ministry official, during a virus briefing.
Despite concerns about rising infections, government officials have so far opposed calls for stricter social detachment guidelines after easing them in April, and raised concerns about harming a fragile economy.
Health workers today sterilize classrooms at a school in Seoul, South Korea. Experts are concerned about a second wave of corona viruses
Her attitude seems to be in contrast to the urgency expressed by health professionals. Kwon Jun-wook, director of the National Institute of Health, admitted that health authorities have only been able to "track transmissions after they have discovered them late."
While South Korea saw a much larger increase in infections in February and March than hundreds of new cases were reported every day, these were easier to follow. The majority at that time concentrated on a single church in Daegu, South Korea's fourth largest city with 2.5 million inhabitants.
The youngest clusters have appeared almost everywhere in the capital.
At least 146 cases have been linked to workers in a large warehouse belonging to the local e-commerce giant Coupang, which has been accused of not taking preventive measures.
South Korea's disease control and prevention centers reported 56 new cases today and 45 new cases on Thursday. Pictured: Tests in a makeshift clinic in Seoul
Around 200 cases have been linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues, while more than 90 infections have been linked to gatherings near Seoul.
At least 116 cases have been linked to door-to-door sales people hired by Richway, a health care company. These cases are particularly worrying since most salespeople are in their sixties and seventies.
The total number of cases in South Korea is now 11,947, including 276 deaths. Most people have recovered, but the number of active cases rose to over 1,000 this week after falling below the mark in mid-May.
The increase in infections in the capital region has led to considerations as to whether the officials were too fast to facilitate measures to distance themselves.
The government decided in mid-April to lift government orders to close entertainment and sports venues, allow professional sports to stay active without spectators, and allow gradual reopening of schools.
But Seoul and the surrounding cities have restored some controls in the past few weeks, closing thousands of nightclubs, hostess bars and karaoke rooms. Despite criticism from data protection advocates, officials have started asking for entertainment venues, gyms, and concert halls to register their customers with smartphone QR codes so they can be easily found when needed.
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