Untraceable Infections Proliferate in Seoul

      August 26, 2020 11:25

      Four out of every 10 coronavirus transmissions in Seoul are untraceable, raising alarms that health authorities may be losing control of the situation.

      According to Seoul city officials on Tuesday, the source of transmission was unknown in 60 out of 134 confirmed cases detected on Monday, which would translate into a ratio of 44.8 percent. As recently as Aug. 13, only a fraction of 6.3 percent of transmissions were untraceable.

      Seoul has seen a surge in infections, with the cumulative number of cases surpassing more than 3,000.

      Kwon Jun-wook, the deputy chief of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that infections could keep rising and referred to the present situation as the "calm before the storm."

      People get tested for coronavirus at a church in Gwangju on Tuesday after some members tested positive after attending an anti-government rally in Seoul last week. /Yonhap

      Thirty-eight patients were in critical condition on Tuesday, according to the KCDC, three times more than six days ago. Seven of them were followers of the Sarang Jeil church in northern Seoul, which has become a new hotbed of infections.

      Out of 915 infections traced to the church, 41.5 percent are over 60 and in the high-risk group.

      As the possibility of a shortage of hospital beds looms, the government began securing additional beds. "We have completed negotiations with university hospitals in the Seoul metropolitan area to secure 26 additional sickbeds to treat critical cases," said Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official.

      Korea reported another 320 new cases as of Wednesday morning, bringing the cumulative total to 18,265.

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