South Korea virus cases hit highest level since March

South Korea reported its highest daily number of coronavirus cases since March on Thursday, with a surge of new infections sparking fears of a major third wave.

Officials announced 583 new cases after several weeks of fresh infections ranging between around 100 and 300.

The latest cases have mostly been clusters at offices, schools, gyms and small gatherings in the greater Seoul area, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

New infections also emerged within the military, including dozens of newly enlisted soldiers at a boot camp—prompting the defence ministry to bolster its virus measures.

“We are now in a situation where virus outbreaks can happen at any place,” health minister Park Neung-hoo said.

The government tightened social distancing rules in the capital and the surrounding regions this week as authorities scrambled to contain the spread of the virus.

The measures include closing nightclubs and bars and restricting the number of visitors at weddings and funerals to 100.

Cafes are only allowed to serve takeaways and all restaurants must close by 9pm, with only deliveries permitted afterwards.

Thursday’s figures take the total number of recorded cases in the country to more than 32,000.

South Korea endured one of the worst early COVID-19 outbreaks outside mainland China, but brought it broadly under control with its “trace, test and treat” approach. It never imposed the kind of lockdowns ordered in much of Europe and other parts of the world.

Source: Read Full Article

Covid-19 tests imported from South Korea were ‘flawed’: WPost

Coronavirus tests imported from South Korea by the governor of the US state of Maryland were flawed and ended up not being used, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

The newspaper said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan spent $9.46 million in April to import 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea.

But the tests turned out to be flawed and the state “quietly” paid the same South Korean company an additional $2.5 million for 500,000 replacement tests, the Post said.

It said a University of Maryland laboratory abandoned its use of the replacement tests after a spate of suspected false positives but a private lab continues to use them.

Around 370,000 of the replacement tests have been used by the private lab, the Post said.

Hogan, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, trumpeted the arrival of the South Korea tests in April and praised the assistance of his South Korean-born wife in obtaining them.

Source: Read Full Article