February 29, 2020 08:35
Health officials are being frustrated by suspected coronavirus carriers who avoid admitting the extent of their movements or their affiliations to the Shincheonji sect, a hotbed of infections.
Some are health officials themselves and even prison officials who have belatedly been identified as Shincheonji members. One pastor at a big church in Seoul who tested positive later had attended several services but failed to come forward for fear of being vilified.
Experts are urging carriers to come clean and cooperate with health officials but also call for the social stigma associated with being a sect member to be eased.
Accurate accounts of confirmed patients' travel routes are essential in stemming a further spread.
Choi Jae-wook at Korea University Hospital said, "Patients who come clean are being labeled as cult members or supercarriers, so many prefer to keep their mouths shut, which leads to a vicious cycle."
And Jeon Byung-ryul at CHA University added, "People who have been exposed to infection risks need to report to health authorities for the sake of public health."
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