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COVID-19: South Korea reports 229 more virus cases

South Korea reported 229 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of infections in the nation to 433.

South Korea reported 229 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of infections in the nation to 433.  

The national toll of 433 is the highest outside China apart from the Diamond Princess cruise ship

South Korea reported 229 more coronavirus cases on Saturday, the sharpest spike in infections yet, with many new cases involving patients being treated in hospital for mental health issues.

The national toll of 433 is the highest outside China apart from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with the jump in cases at the hospital in the southern city of Cheongdo following a similar spike among members of a religious sect in the nearby city of Daegu.

Among the new cases was a Samsung Electronics employee at a plant in Gumi, 200 kilometres (210 miles) southeast of Seoul, leading the tech giant to say it would suspend operations there until on Monday.

Meanwhile, 95 of the newly confirmed cases were “related” to patients or staff at Cheongdo Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

“Most of the hospital's patients who have been diagnosed are those who had been staying as inpatients for mental illnesses,” Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told reporters.

Some cases show “no confirmed epidemiological connections”, meaning they are not sure where or how they contracted the virus, he added.

 

Authorities reported another death on Saturday, taking the toll to two. Both victims had been inpatients at the hospital.

Separately, more than 200 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus have now been infected, starting with a 61-year-old woman who attended at least four services at the church's Daegu branch before being diagnosed.

KCDC said some 9,300 Shincheonji members in Daegu have either been quarantined at facilities or been asked to stay at home. Among them, 1,261 said they had symptoms, health officials added.

The mayor of Daegu — South Korea's fourth-biggest city, with a population of more than 2.5 million — has advised locals to stay indoors, while access to a major U.S. military base in the area has been restricted.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:01:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/covid-19-south-korea-reports-229-more-cases/article30888872.ece

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