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COVID-19: South Korea reports 1st virus death as 2.5 million urged to stay home

Workers wearing protective gears spray disinfectant against the new coronavirus in front of a church in Daegu, South Korea on Thursday.

Workers wearing protective gears spray disinfectant against the new coronavirus in front of a church in Daegu, South Korea on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: AP

So far South Korea has reported a total of 82 cases of COVID-19

Yonhap news agency says South Korea has reported its first death from a new coronavirus. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not immediately provide details.

The report came as South Korea is struggling to cope with the outbreak and its economic fallout. Earlier on Thursday, South Korea said it has confirmed a total of 82 cases of the virus.

Earlier the day, the mayor of the South Korean city of Daegu urged its 2.5 million people on Thursday to refrain from going outside as cases of a new virus, linked to a church congregation, spiked and he pleaded for help from the central government. Mayor Kwon Young-jin made the appeal in a nationally televised news conference after the southeastern city and its nearby towns reported 35 additional cases of infection with the new coronavirus on Thursday.

"National quarantine efforts that are currently focused on blocking the inflow of the virus (from China) and stemming its spread are inadequate for preventing the illness from circulating in local communities,” Mr. Kwon said.

 

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 28 of those 35 new patients went to church services attended by a previously confirmed virus patient or contacted her at other places inside a Daegu church. That patient is a South Korean woman in her early 60s who has no recent record of overseas travel, according to center officials. She tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, becoming the 31st case in South Korea. On Wednesday morning, Daegu confirmed 13 cases and 11 of them either went to the same church with the woman patient or contacted her at a hospital, according to the disease control center.

"We are seeing infections in some areas like Seoul and Daegu where it’s difficult to confirm the cause or routes of the infections,” Kim Gang-lip, South Korea’s Vice Health Minister, said in a briefing.

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"Our judgment is that (COVID-19) which has been introduced from abroad is beginning to spread through community transmissions in limited ranges,” he said, adding that the government would need to change its quarantine strategy that has been focused on tracing contacts.

South Korea has reported a total of 82 cases of COVID-19, a disease first detected in Wuhan, China, in December.

Watch | Coronavirus: Can masks protect you?
 

In a telephone conversation with Kwon later Thursday, President Moon Jae-in said the central government will make all available assistance to help Daegu fight against the virus’ further spread, according to the presidential Blue House.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:12:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/covid-19-south-korea-reports-1st-virus-death-as-25-million-urged-to-stay-home/article30869575.ece

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