Coronavirus: No new domestic cases in South Korea
In a first since hitting the February peak, South Korea on Thursday reported no new domestic cases of COVID-19. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said that the four new coronavirus infections reported were all imported cases. Authorities also said that the 292 "reactivated" cases reported earlier were false positives and not cases of re-infections. Here are more details.
According to KCDC, South Korea has reported a total of 10,765 cases, including the four new imported infections, till 12 am on April 30. The KCDC said, "For the first time since February 18 (the 31st confirmed case), no confirmed case was reported at the community level." Out of the total cases, 1,065 are imported and 9,059 have been discharged from isolation.
However, even with this positive trend, authorities have warned people against violating social distancing guidelines ahead of a long weekend. South Koreans celebrate Buddha's birthday on Thursday, followed by May Day on Friday, and Children's Day next Tuesday. Authorities have advised against crowding popular destinations and asked people to follow health precautions. Those with fever or respiratory symptoms are advised against travel.
On Sunday, large churches were reopened, provided worshipers maintain social distancing and wear masks. A clinical expert panel on Wednesday also said 292 cases—earlier reported as "reactivated"—were false positives due to the technical limits of PCR testing. South Korea's parliament on Thursday approved a second supplementary budget of 12.2 trillion won ($10.06 billion) to fund cash payments promised to all families amid the pandemic.
Health authorities also confirmed that there was no local transmission of COVID-19 from a parliamentary election held earlier this month. Reportedly, authorities had taken several precautionary measures for the elections on April 15, including disinfecting polling stations across the country. Voters were also asked to wear masks and plastic gloves while casting their votes and maintain a distance of one meter between each other.
Director-General for public health policy, Yoon Tae-ho, said, "Twenty-nine million voters participated in the April 15 parliamentary election ... Not one case related to the election has been reported during the 14 days of incubation period," according to Reuters.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) was first reported in China's Wuhan late last year. It's caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus attacks a host's respiratory system triggering symptoms such as fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it may cause pneumonia, multiple organ failure, or death. COVID-19 has spread to over 170 countries, killing nearly 2.3 lakh and sickening 32 lakh.