Daily US Times: South Korean health officials believe the country is going through a second wave of coronavirus outbreak, despite recording relatively low numbers.
The country is one of the early hit countries and had been a success story in dealing with Covid-19. It is now expecting the pandemic to continue for months.
Jung Eun-kyeong, head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC), said the first wave lasted up until April.
Clusters of new cases have grown since May, including outbreaks at nightclubs in the capital, Seoul. The new clusters are considered as second wave.
Daily confirmed cases had fallen from nearly a thousand to zero infections recorded for three days in a row between those periods.
Over the last 24 hours, 17 new infections had been recorded, officials on Monday said, from different clusters in large offices and warehouses.
Dr Jeong said the recent resurgence had led her to conclude that South Korea was in the grip of a second wave of the virus and that she expected it to continue.
Until now, the KCDC had said that the country’s first wave had never really ended.
According to Dr Jeong, it was now clear that a holiday weekend in early May marked the beginning of a new wave of infections focused in the greater Seoul area, which had previously seen only a few cases.
The city of Daejeon, south of the capital, announced earlier on Monday that it would ban gatherings in public spaces such as museums and libraries after a number of small virus clusters were discovered.
Meanwhile, in the end of May, More than 200 schools in South Korea have been forced to close just days after they re-opened, due to a new spike in virus cases.
The capital may have to return to strict social distancing, the mayor of Seoul also warned. The mayor said should cases top 30 on average over the next three days and the bed occupancy rate of the city’s hospitals exceeds 70%.
South Korea had not locked down the country as it managed to get success instead relied on voluntary social distancing measures alongside an aggressive trace, track and test strategy to combat the virus.
A total of 280 people have died since the country reported its first case on 20 January.
The country reported it’s first case on 20 January and a total of 280 people have died since and overall, more than 12,000 infections have been recorded and it is thought that currently there remain 1,277 active cases in the country.