- Health authorities complete evacuation of Korean nationals living in Wuhan
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that it has confirmed an additional coronavirus patient.
The 12th confirmed patient is a 49-year-old Chinese man who works as a tour guide in Japan. He arrived at Gimpo International Airport on Jan. 19.
“The patient said that he was recommended by a Japanese person infected with the virus to receive a checkup for the disease as he may be another person-to-person transmission case,” The KCDC said. “Soon after, he visited a hospital here and tested positive for the new coronavirus.”
According to the KCDC, the patient is currently receiving treatment at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.
The agency added that it is conducting an epidemiological investigation on the newly confirmed patient and will share the information with the public as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the country’s second chartered plane carrying 333 citizens from Wuhan, where the new coronavirus originated, arrived in Seoul on Saturday.
With the arrival of the second plane, the government has completed the evacuation of about 700 nationals from the Chinese city that was hit hardest by the deadly virus.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Korean Air plane landed at Gimpo International Airport at around 8:15 a.m.
While all 333 people passed quarantine checks at the airport in Wuhan, the government said that it had done a separate checkup and confirmed seven evacuees that showed possible signs of the new coronavirus.
“The evacuees suspected of having the symptoms were sent directly to the National Medical Center for a more thorough test,” the ministry said. “The rest of the evacuees boarded a bus and headed for the makeshift quarantine shelter in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, where they will stay for at least two weeks.”
The ministry also presented the checkup results among the 368 people aboard the first evacuation flight.
“In the first chartered flight, 18 people were sent to the hospital after showing signs of fever,” the ministry said. “Of them, 11 tested negative, while the remaining seven are awaiting the final results despite testing negative during their initial test results.”
The Ministry of Health and Welfare also said that it is providing the information on travel history to China through its Drug Utilization Review (DUR) and International Traveler Information System (ITS).
“After improving the system and conducting active promotion of the system, the inquiry rate of the two systems rose significantly from 54.1 percent to 82.1 percent in the past six days,” a ministry official said.
The government also spent 18.8 billion won ($15.7 million) to purchase mobile X-ray equipment for screening clinics for the diagnosis of new coronavirus patients, the ministry added.
Regarding the recent public concerns on face masks and hand sanitizer, the government said that it has completed reviewing the notice on banning any action of cornering the market, which is to buy all or most of a product so that its price goes up.
Officials are encouraging the production and supply of these items to provide sufficient purchase opportunities for consumers, while continuously monitoring for market disturbance activities.
The health authorities also noted that health insurance and medical benefits would cover the treatment cost of Koreans, while the state and local governments will provide any additional payment not covered by insurance. Foreigners will also receive full financial support from the government for their treatments.