After China, it’s South Korea’s turn to publish alarming daily reports. The health authorities announced, Wednesday, February 26, 169 new infections, for a total of 1,146, and an eleventh death related to the coronavirus. It is the highest level of infection in the world outside of mainland China, where the Covid-19 epidemic began in December.
The eleventh person to have died from the virus is a man in his thirties from Mongolia who became the first foreigner to die in South Korea, according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). He was hospitalized awaiting a liver transplant, the Yonhap news agency said.
Among those infected, an American soldier stationed in Carroll camp, 30 kilometers north of Daegu, tested positive for the new coronavirus, military officials said. The first contaminated American soldier, he was placed in auto-quarantine in his residence outside the military base.
No confinement in Daegu
The vast majority of new infections – 90% – have been detected in Daegu (south), the country's fourth city and the epicenter of the epidemic in South Korea, and in the neighboring province of North Gyeongsang. Together, the city and the province represent 80% of the cases of contamination in the country.
Daegu authorities have called on people to be very careful, advising residents to stay home if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms. They said, however, that they were not considering quarantining the city like China did with the megacity of Wuhan, where the virus first appeared. The government intends to do everything possible to "Allow Daegu to return to normal within the next four weeks", he said, estimating that this week will be "Determining".
South Korea has an advanced medical system, the press is free there and the country is very transparent, which makes it possible to trust the figures communicated by the health authorities, according to observers.
Most cases of contamination have been linked to a Christian sect, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which has approximately 200,000 worshipers. KCDC director advised members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus to avoid " as much as possible " to get out of their home.
94 passengers on quarantined aircraft
Health officials in China have announced the lowest daily toll in three weeks, with 52 deaths in the past 24 hours – bringing the total to 2,715 since the outbreak of viral pneumonia in Hubei in December. Some 406 new cases of contamination have also been reported, according to the national health commission.
On the same day, Chinese authorities quarantined 94 people on a flight arriving in Nanjing (east China) from Seoul because three passengers were feverish, a Chinese state media reported. Customs officials boarded the plane soon after landing to detect possible symptoms of the new coronavirus, and found it in three passengers, all Chinese, according to CCTV.
The latter were hospitalized for a screening test. They did not recently travel to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, where the virus appeared, the channel said.