“Delayed testing of those exposed to risk can cause terrible situation like that of America and Europe. ‘Level 3’ social distancing is unavoidable if we cannot control it now.”
Reporter Woo Young-tak 2020-08-18 17:29:51
Amid the explosion of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) centering around Sarang Jeil Church in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, the disinfection authorities warned that the current spreading power of COVID-19 virus in the areas surrounding Seoul is six times greater than that of the virus that spread last February to March, when the large-scale spread of the virus came from the Shincheonji Church in Daegu.
Joon-wook Kwon, the deputy head of the Central Defense Countermeasures Headquarters, said at a regular briefing held at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the 18th, “We believe it is a much bigger crisis now than when the Shincheonji cluster cases broke out in February and March.” He said, “If by chance the disinfection cooperation is delayed that diagnostic testing also becomes delayed for those who have been exposed to the risks of infection and suspected cases, we may face a terrible situation like that of countries in Europe and in the Americas. We are at the crossroad of falling into such a crisis.”
Deputy Manager Kwon added, “This epidemic in the Seoul area is highly likely to be the GH type, which has a higher transmission power of the virus than that of the Shincheonji epidemic.” The GH group is a virus that spread in the US and Europe. In South Korea, most of this type of virus has been found after the Itaewon club outbreak in early May. Deputy Manager Kwon explained, “In the case of the GH type, it has been confirmed that the spreading power is up to 9.6 times higher than that of the previous type, and it is six times higher on average.”
In the Seoul metropolitan area, which is the most densely populated part in Korea, cluster cases were found centering around elderly groups who are vulnerable to the virus, which alarms the disinfection authorities. Kwak Jin, the head of the Patient Management Team at the KCDC, said at a regular briefing, “26.2% of confirmed cases related to Sarang Jeil Church are in their 60s. 10.1% are in their 70s, 1.5% in their 80s; 38% are in their 60s or older.”
Deputy Manager Kwon said, “If we do not stop the spread of Seoul and Gyeonggi regions this week, the normal daily life in the Seoul area, as well as the entire country, can come to a halt. Safety of the elderly and the poor can be jeopardized.” He also added, “If we do not control and suppress the spread at this level now, we cannot avoid escalating social distancing to level 3, which can be detrimental to huge problems in the society and economy at the national level, let alone impacting every citizen’s life activities and livelihood.”
Reporter Woo Young-tak firstname.lastname@example.org