South Korea reports lowest new coronavirus cases in four weeks

South Korea reports lowest new coronavirus cases in four weeks
Army soldiers wearing protective suits disinfect a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, South Korea. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: South Korea, once one of the worst affected countries, has reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since infection rates peaked four weeks ago. The information fuelling hopes Asia’s worst outbreak outside China may be abating.

In the last 24 hours, South Korea reported 64 new cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, taking the total to 8,961 with 111 deaths.

Several European countries are suffering most from the outbreak. Italy leads the death toll now. On Sunday, the country has reported 651 more deaths, making the total number to 5,476, far ahead than any other country in the world.

Spain added another 462 deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 2,182.

The situation in the US is also getting worse. Many states are taking aggressive steps to control the virus from spreading.

The New York City mayor Bill de Blasio warned of a worsening outbreak, with damage accelerated by shortages of key medical supplies.

Different approach of South Korea

The country is testing nearly 20,000 people every day, more people per capita than anywhere else in the world.

It has created a network of public and private laboratories and provides dozens of drive-through centers where people with symptoms can check their health status.

South Korea developed its approach after an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) in 2015, when 36 people died in the country, which had the second-largest number of Mers cases after Saudi Arabia.

Mers outbreak forced the country to reassess its approach to infectious diseases and its Centres for Disease Control set up a special department to prepare for the worst, a move which appears to have paid off.

After Mers, laws on managing and publicly sharing information of patients with infectious diseases significantly changed.

The government stepped up preventative action by sending out emergency alerts this weekend, urging people to stay away from places which encourage mass gatherings such as gyms, churches, nightclubs and karaoke rooms.

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