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10 Mar 2020 | 01:08 AM UTC

South Korea: Health officials confirm over 7300 coronavirus cases March 9 /update 12

More than 7300 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases confirmed nationwide as of March 9; further spread of the virus expected

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KOR

Event

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed 7382 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide as of 00:00 (local time) on Monday, March 9, including 51 associated fatalities. The highest number of cases remains in Daegu with 5155 confirmed, followed by the Gyeongbuk region at 1107. Further spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks across South Korea.

Local media outlets reported on Thursday that 109 countries and territories are restricting entry or enforcing quarantine measures for travelers from South Korea. More information regarding entry restrictions around the world for individuals coming South Korea can be found on the Korean Air website here. The national airline carrier announced further international flight cancelations and reductions on March 9, including several routes to and from the US and Europe. Other domestic airlines, such as Asiana Airlines, also announced extensive flight cancelations and reductions on international routes from March 5. Further travel restrictions for individuals traveling from or via South Korea and/or for South Korean nationals are anticipated in the near term, as well as additional domestic and international flight disruptions.

A number of universities have delayed their reopening until Monday, March 16. Further business and transportation disruptions are possible in the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. A surge in cases linked to a religious sect in Daegu and a hospital in Cheongdo (North Gyeongsang province) led to their February 21 designation as "special care zones." The Ministry of Health designated Gyeongsan city (North Gyeongsang province) as another "special care zone" on March 5.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Individuals in South Korea are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, anticipate further transportation and business disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.