As there occurred in South Korea the first patient who received a definite diagnosis of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan, China, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will be operating the “Seoul Virus Prevention Task Force” 24 hours a day to prevent the spread of the disease. With a seamless emergency system based on the trilateral cooperation of the Korean government, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and medical institutions, Seoul will assure the safety of citizens during Seollal holidays (Jan. 24-27) and Chinese New Year (Jan. 24-30).
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has organized the ‘Novel Coronavirus Prevention Task Force’ to operate a 24-hour emergency prevention operations system, having 25 community health centers run their selected clinics in preparation for situations wherein suspected cases are found. The Seoul Research Institute of Public Health and Environment has established a speedy examination system.
In close collaboration with medical institutions, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has requested hospitals to check whether hospital visitors have visited Wuhan, China by checking the history of their overseas travels and to report those who show symptoms of the virus to the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC)and a public health center with jurisdiction.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is operating the ‘Novel Coronavirus Prevention Task Force’ with the motto of “Better safe than sorry”for communicable disease prevention and the 24-hour emergency prevention system will operate during the Seollal holidays. In case suspected cases of 2019-nCoV occur in Seoul, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is maintaining real-time communication with the KCDC via hotline, and is sharing related information with the Seoul Research Institute of Public Health and Environment as well as public health centers in autonomous districts.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has also promptly organized the ‘Novel Coronavirus Prevention Expert Panel’ to discuss measures to respond to possible situations in the days to come.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has emphasized that what matters most for the prevention of the spread of 2019-nCoV and its early detection is the collaboration between citizens and medical circles.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has requested that citizens who visited Wuhan should practice proper hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease, such as washing hands, covering oneself when sneezing and wearing a mask, and contact 1339 (KCDC Call Center) or the local public health care center if suspected of symptoms. Medical institutions should give rigorously selective treatment to patients with respiratory symptoms by checking whether they have visited Wuhan, and reported via 1339 (KCDC Call Center)for those who are suspected to be infected by 2019-nCoV.
As a preemptive response is important in communicative disease control, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will concert all its efforts to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV during the Seollal holidays. Seoul will do its best to actively tackle the disease, implementing step-by-step emergency measures and proactive inspection through permanent communication with the Korean government, public health centers, and medical institutions, until the outbreak is over.
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Is it safe to travel to Korea?
The World Health Organization is closely monitoring the situation. As the situation in Wuhan is rapidly evolving and information about the new coronavirus is still limited, we recommend you do not travel to Hubei Province.
Even though 2019-nCoV has not led to a PHEIC, WHO officials advised countries to take precautionary measures of their own. On Monday, Yoon Do-han, senior secretary to the president for public communication, told The Korea Herald that South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered full disclosure of information and the mobilization of medical personnel from the military to help limit the disease’s spread.
The KCDC is conducting an epidemiological investigation into the most recent case, a process used to determine the source of exposure and people who may be at risk.
On January 27th, 2020, the Ministry of Health and Welfare increased the national alert level regarding the novel coronavirus from ‘yellow’ to ‘orange’, due to the increasing potential of its spread.
Please be sure to always wear a mask when using public transportation, such as the bus or the subway, or when visiting public spaces. Don’t forget to regularly wash your hands with soap for over 30 seconds. If you are experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms after visiting China, do not visit a hospital but immediately call 1339 or contact your nearest community health center.
Source: Korea.net, WHO, CDC, DOH, Seoul Metropolitan Government, KCDC