Untraceable Infections Hit New High

  • By Jung Seok-woo

    September 18, 2020 11:00

    The sources of 532 or 26.4 percent of 2,013 new coronavirus infections over the past two weeks are untraceable, according to the newly-renamed Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Thursday.

    The proportion of untraceable infections keeps rising after it hit 25 percent on Tuesday. This means there may be unknown pockets of infection where health authorities cannot carry out targeted tests.

    KDCA chief Jeong Eun-kyeong warned, "There is a risk of another resurgence if people regard a slight easing of social distancing in the capital region as the all-clear."

    The rate of untraceable infections was a mere five percent when the government started contact tracing on April 5. At the time, health authorities said tracing would only be effective if the rate stays below five percent. But it surpassed 10 percent on June 14 and 20 percent on Aug. 21.

    A spokesman for the Seoul Metropolitan Government said Thursday, "We preemptively tested 8,544 randomly selected citizens without symptoms from June 15 to Sept. 14. Only one of them tested positive."

    Jeong said massive migration over Chuseok and falling temperatures present major risks of a resurgence of the epidemic. She pleaded with Koreans to refrain from visiting their ancestral hometowns or traveling over Chuseok. She also warned of the normal seasonal flu, which could produce symptoms similar to COVID-19 and strain resources.

    Meanwhile, Korea reported another 126 new cases as of Friday morning, bringing the cumulative total to 22,783.

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