South Korea declares red alert after rapid spike in coronavirus cases « Khabarhub
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South Korea declares red alert after rapid spike in coronavirus cases

23 February 2020  

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SEOUL: South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced on Sunday that the country has raised its alert over the coronavirus to the highest level following a rapid surge in new infections in a single day.

“The COVID-19 incident faces a grave turning point. The next few days will be crucial,” Moon said following an emergency government meeting.

“The government will raise the alert level to the highest level of ‘grave’ according to experts’ recommendations and drastically strengthen our response system,” he added.

Moon said the declaration would ensure the government strengthens its overall emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

He called on authorities to take “unprecedented, powerful” measures to contain the epidemic, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The move introduces the same sort of containment measures only seen in China until now.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the country will take “unprecedented, powerful” measures to fight coronavirus.

More than half of the new cases were linked to a Christian church in the city of Daegu in the south of the country, after a 61-year-old woman who attended services there tested positive for the virus. The woman had no recent record of overseas travel.

The woman, who developed a fever on February 10, attended at least four services at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus before being diagnosed. The church is seen as belonging to a religious sect.

Around 9,300 Shincheonji members in Daegu have either been quarantined or have been asked to stay at home, said Jung Eun-kyeong, director of Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

According to KCDC, more than 55% of the total confirmed cases were connected to the Shincheonji Church.

“The crisis level of Daegu and the North Gyeongsang province is grave,” said Mayor Kwon Young-jin.

He asked all Shincheonji Church members with symptoms to come forward and be tested. Authorities have yet to reach around 670 members.

“Hiding is not the answer. If you hide, it could hurt your health, your family’s health, and will not help in the early cessation of the situation,” Kwon said.

Daegu is South Korea’s fourth-largest city and has a population of 2.5 million.

(with inputs from Agencies)

Publish Date : 23 February 2020 19:19 PM

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