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State to cover all treatment costs of Wuhan virus-infected patients

All News 07:58 January 29, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Wednesday it will foot the bill for fighting the Wuhan coronavirus in the country and treating infected patients.

Under the rules on countermeasures for new infectious diseases, the state will pay for all expenses related to the screening of suspected cases and treatment of those infected, which includes costs associated with isolating a person in a negative pressure room, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

"The state will pay for everything from the moment a person is admitted to a medical facility until he or she is discharged, with the only exception being if the person gets a checkup for other, non-virus related illnesses," it said

The ministry did not say how much the move will cost taxpayers but said the DNA testing needed to determine if a person has the China coronavirus costs over 100,000 won (US$85), with drug treatment, hospital beds and the special equipment needed to monitor an infected person likely to run into the tens of millions of won.

The state funding to cover costs associated with fighting infectious diseases is common practice around the world and can help prevent the spread of illness because sick people won't be afraid of reporting their condition to related authorities.

So far, South Korea has reported four confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. Three other patients infected with the virus are Korean nationals.

Besides the confirmed cases, the country has screened 97 people that had some sign of the illness, with their tests coming back negative. It is currently inspecting 15 others.

This photo provided by Myongji Hospital in Goyang, northwest of Seoul, on Jan. 27, 2020, shows medical staff treating a person who tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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