South Korea Posts 52 More Virus Cases as Outbreak Expands

South Korea has confirmed 52 additional coronavirus infections with bulk of the new cases tied to a cluster from a religious sect in Daegu, where city officials have shut down public facilities and advised residents to stay indoors.

The country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the total number of coronavirus cases rose to 156, a five-fold increase from earlier this week when the first patient tied to the church was found to be infected.

Of the new infections, 39 were tied to the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, formerly known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus based in Daegu, CDC said. In all, at least 82 cases involve those who may have attended church services with a person who was confirmed with the virus earlier this week. A pastor told JoongAng Ilbo newspaper in an interview that some 1,000 people attended services in which the 61-year-old coronavirus patient was also in attendance.

The number of coronavirus cases in China, the epicenter of the outbreak, topped 75,000, while concerns grew over the pace of infections in other Asian countries. The number of infections inJapan has more than doubled in the past week while Singapore has more than 80 cases.

China Cases Top 75,000; 52 More Korean Infections: Virus Update

The outbreak in Daegu, about 235 kilometers (150 miles) south of Seoul, has renewed concerns about the virus after a lull in reported cases last week. President Moon Jae-in, who held a round table discussion with small businesses Friday, called the spread of the virus “very grave” and said South Korea would “fully mobilize” financial and budgetary measures to help the economy weather the impact of the outbreak.

Moon, earlier this week, warned that the effects from the virus on the economy could be bigger and longer-lasting than the 2015 MERS epidemic that killed 38 people in South Korea.

Health officials, meanwhile, did not raise the alert level, saying that the current status of the outbreak was “manageable.”

In Seoul, the city’s mayor said he would close all of the church’s facilities located in the capital,Yonhap News reported.

Also on Friday, the country’s defense ministry limited military personnel from taking vacations and outside trips as well as banning visitors to military facilities after a Navy sailor visiting Jeju Island contracted the coronavirus, Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported, citing ministry officials.

— With assistance by Seyoon Kim

Source: Read Full Article