June 11, 2020 11:27
The number of people being treated in isolation for coronavirus surpassed 1,000 again for the first time in a month as infections surge in the Seoul metropolitan area.
A total of 1,015 people had been placed in isolation as of Wednesday. Health officials have said 1,000 people in isolation is the threshold for a manageable epidemic.
A computer programmer working for Hackers Academia, a top crammer in Seoul, tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, prompting health officials to close seven other branches. A cleaner at Samsung's semiconductor factory in Suwon south of Seoul also tested positive, forcing 1,200 employees to work from home.
Jung Eun-kyeong, the head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "Mass infections have been spreading in the Seoul metropolitan region after social-distancing rules were eased. If we fail to break the chain of infections, we can't rule out a major resurgence."
The government sent out messages cautioning the public against enclosed or crowded places as well as gatherings, urging them to wear face masks and maintaining social distancing.
Infections are also surging again among the elderly. The proportion of over-65s among newly infected people reached 26.6 percent from May 31-June 6.
Among new cases traced to a door-to-door sales company in southern Seoul, which typically employs older people, the proportion stood at 54.1 percent of new cases. The overall death rate stands at only 2.3 percent but rises to 10.4 percent among patients in their 70s and 26.3 percent among those over 80.
"By the time we locate a patient, secondary and tertiary infections have already taken place," Jung said. "People who suspect infection need to go into voluntary self-quarantine and get tested to stop the spread."
Meanwhile, Korea reported another 45 new cases as of Thursday morning, 40 of them in the Seoul metropolitan area, bringing the total to 11,947.
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