At least three COVID-19 cases of secondary transmission from imported infections were confirmed across South Korea, health authorities said Friday, as the government grapples with a continued influx of the coronavirus infections from overseas.
“There were some three to four cases involving those who came from overseas, which led to secondary transmission in the local community,” said Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Jeong Eun-kyeong at a briefing Friday.
The cases involve those who helped entrants from overseas to get to their home or supported their daily life under self-quarantine, she added.
Still, Jeong downplayed the risk of the community spread triggered by those entering Korea from overseas, adding half of the imported cases were detected at the quarantine checkpoints and the rest while under their two-week-long mandatory self-quarantine. Korea reported 60 new COVID-19 cases Friday, with 39 imported from overseas and 21 locally transmitted, according to the KCDC. The total caseload rose to 13,672. Small-scale outbreaks continue to take place across the country, but the number of new local infections has hovered below 20 in recent days.
Imported cases, marked double-digit increases for 22 consecutive days, remain a major concern for the authorities. The country reported 43 imported cases Monday — a four-month high. Of the 39 imported cases, 25 were detected during the quarantine screening process at the border and the rest while the individuals were under mandatory self-quarantine in Korea. Thirty-one of them were from Asia — including 20 from Russia, six from Iraq, three each from the Philippines, and two from Uzbekistan. Eight were from the United States.
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A large portion of the imported cases involves Korea nationals who returned home from a construction site in Iraq on a chartered flight on Tuesday. Among 105 returnees, at least 34 people tested positive for the virus so far, with the number expected to rise. The government said Friday it will send chartered flights to the Middle Eastern country next week to bring back the remaining workers home safely. At least 600 Korean workers are still in Iraq for construction projects, where some 3,000 cases are being reported daily.
Some 19 Russian sailors onboard three Russian-flagged vessels docked in Busan tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 22 cases linked to the vessels were reported so far. Of the country’s total 2,005 imported cases, 38 percent of the people involved have come from Asia excluding China, followed by the Americas at 34.3 percent, Europe at 25.4 percent, Africa at 1.3 percent, and China at 0.9 percent. Some 53.6 percent of the cases were detected after people entered the country, while the rest were found during the quarantine screening process at the border. The vast majority of the cases, or 69.3 percent, involved Korean nationals.
As for locally transmitted cases, seven were registered in Seoul, five each in Gwangju and Gyeonggi Province, three in Jeju Island, and one in Daejeon. The cases are linked to clusters in offices, marketing events, a fitness center, a nursing home, church gatherings, among others. Three cases registered in Jeju came into contact with a Seoul resident who visited the island for six days earlier this month, triggering alarm over a possible spike in infections in the popular resort island as the summer holiday begins.
So far, 12,460 people, or 91.4 percent, have been released from quarantine after making full recoveries, up 64 from a day earlier. Some 919 people are receiving medical treatment under quarantine. Two more people died, raising the death toll to 293. The overall fatality rate stands at 2.14 percent — 2.56 percent for men and 1.82 percent for women. The rate is much higher for those in their 80s or over – 25.17 percent — and those in their 70s — 9.47 percent. The country has carried out 1,451,017 tests since Jan. 3, with 23,110 people awaiting results as of Wednesday.
Source: The Korea Herald