Still No End in Sight for Coronavirus Epidemic

  • By Shon Jin-seok, Yang Ji-ho

    July 20, 2020 12:08

    Six months have passed since the first coronavirus infection was detected in Korea on Jan. 20, but infections continue to rise and it is anyone's guess when they will end.

    The cumulative number of confirmed infections reached 13,711 on Monday morning, while deaths stood at 296.

    Worldwide, the total number of infections passed 14 million on Saturday when a new daily infection record was set at 259,848, according to the World Health Organization. The death toll also exceeded 600,000.

    WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on July 13 that the situation will "get worse and worse and worse" unless quarantine rules are observed.

    Jeong Eun-kyeong

    The main task in Korea has become the prevention of carriers entering from overseas. Over the past two weeks, 379 of the new cases here were people arriving from abroad, accounting for 58 percent.

    Kwon Jun-wook, the deputy chief of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "Coronavirus infections continue around the world and there is no telling when the pandemic will end."

    Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the KCDC, said, "I am most grateful to our citizens who followed instructions and wore face masks over the last six months."

    Speaking to reporters at KCDC headquarters in central Korea on Friday, Jeong said, "My wish has always been the end of the coronavirus epidemic and a return to normal life," but she added that she is worried about a renewed surge in infections.

    Despite her packed schedule, Jeong managed to write a paper on Korea's successful quarantine measures and published it in an international journal early this month. The paper shows that teenagers spread coronavirus more than adults.

    After analyzing 5,706 people who tested positive in Korea, Jeong found that the rate of spread was highest among youngsters aged 10 to 19 and the lowest among children aged zero to nine. She pointed out that teenagers are very mobile and socially active and tend to flout hygiene procedures.

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