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Coronavirus: South Korea steps up measures as infections spike

South Korea has stepped up measures to include the unfold of the lethal new coronavirus, as confirmed infections rose sharply for a second day.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun mentioned it was now an emergency state of affairs as 100 new instances had been reported.

The southern cities of Daegu and Cheongdo have been declared “particular care zones”. The streets of Daegu are actually largely deserted.

All navy bases are in lockdown after three troopers examined constructive.

About 9,000 members of a non secular group had been informed to self quarantine, after the sect was recognized as a coronavirus hotbed.

The authorities suspect the present outbreak in South Korea originated in Cheongdo, stating that numerous sect followers attended a funeral of the founder’s brother from 31 January to 2 February.

On Thursday, 53 new instances had been reported. South Korea now has a complete of 204 instances making it the most important cluster exterior mainland China and the cruise ship docked off Japan.

Earlier this week, the nation’s first dying from the virus was confirmed in Cheongdo.

The person was a long-term affected person at a hospital, the place alongside him one other 15 sufferers have additionally examined constructive.

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The brand new virus, which originated final 12 months in Hubei province in China, causes a respiratory illness known as Covid-19.

What measures are being taken?

From the 100 new instances reported on Friday, 86 had been in Daegu, a metropolis 300km (186 miles) south-east of the capital Seoul, and practically all of these had been from a cluster involving the non secular sect.

Worker disinfecting a trainPicture copyrightAFP
Picture captionSouth Korea is making an attempt laborious to cease the native unfold of the brand new coronavirus

Reacting to the shortly deteriorating state of affairs, the federal government promised swift measures to stop additional unfold of the virus.

“It’s pressing to seek out individuals who have contacted contaminated folks and treatment sufferers,” PM Chung mentioned, in accordance with information company Yonhap.

He mentioned the federal government was readying sources like sickbeds, medical gear and well being staff and warned the virus was now spreading regionally.

“The federal government has thus far targeted on curbing infections coming from exterior the nation. Any more, the federal government will additional prioritise stopping the virus from spreading regionally.”


Well being Minister Park Neung-hoo mentioned authorities would enable hospitals to isolate respiratory sufferers from others in an effort to stop any unfold inside medical establishments.

He additionally mentioned that each one pneumonia sufferers in Daegu hospitals could be checked for the virus.

What occurred in Daegu?

Town’s greatest cluster seems to be at a department of a non secular sect which calls itself the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

South Korean well being officers imagine these infections are linked to a 61-year-old lady who examined constructive for the virus earlier this week.

Workers on scooters disinfect the streets of Daegu, South Korea. Photo: 21 February 2020Picture copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Picture captionStaff have been disinfecting the streets of Daegu, South Korea’s fourth-largest metropolis

The Shincheonji, which has been accused of being a cult, mentioned it had now shut down its Daegu department and that providers in different areas could be held on-line or individually at house.

As of Friday, greater than 400 members of the church had been displaying signs of the illness, although checks had been nonetheless ongoing, town mayor mentioned.

What about China and elsewhere?

The newest figures from China put the dying toll from the illness at 2,236 folks and complete infections at greater than 75,000.

The virus has now hit the nation’s jail system, with greater than 500 inmates confirmed contaminated.

Senior officers have already been sacked for mishandling administration of the outbreak.

The virus has additionally unfold across the globe with greater than 1,000 instances and a number of other deaths in the remainder of Asia, in Europe, the US and Africa.

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map showing global cases

South Korea is now the worst affected nation after mainland China and the greater than 600 infections on a cruise ship docked in Japan.

Passengers of the Diamond Princess who’ve examined unfavourable proceed to disembark the ship in Yokohama after greater than 14 days quarantined on board.

Greater than 150 Australian passengers have been evacuated from the ship and have already arrived in Darwin, the place they may start two extra weeks of quarantine.

Australian officers mentioned on Friday that six folks had reported feeling unwell on arrival in Darwin and had been instantly examined.

Two of these folks examined constructive regardless of having acquired unfavourable checks earlier than leaving Japan.

The primary batch of individuals from Hong Kong have additionally flown again to town, the place they may equally be quarantined.


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