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(LEAD) No additional virus cases for 3rd day, 41 under inspection

All News 15:29 January 30, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info from para 5; ADDS top photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's health authorities said Thursday they have not diagnosed new coronavirus cases in the country but are monitoring 41 people that have symptoms amid heightened quarantine rules.

So far, the country has confirmed four cases of the novel virus, with the latest one reported Monday.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), 244 people have experienced signs of the new virus strain since Jan. 3, and 199 have tested negative and been released from observation and isolation.

Of the four confirmed cases, the first was reported Jan. 20, with the others coming Friday, Sunday and Monday. Authorities said they are keeping close tabs on the 387 citizens who may have come in contact with those infected.

The third and fourth patients were asymptomatic upon arrival here from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the fast-spreading virus, raising concerns they may have spread it to others unknowingly.

A thermal checkpoint checks passengers getting off a plane at Pohang Airport, 374 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Jan. 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

The KCDC said that the first three people to be confirmed with the virus are all in stable condition, with the fourth person still suffering from pneumonia and receiving more medical attention.

The public health protection agency said that it is has developed a test procedure that can reduce the time it takes to determine if a person has been infected with the new coronavirus strain from the current 24 hours to just six.

The new method will be used initially by 18 public health centers Friday and then be provided to civilian clinics and hospitals in early February, it added.

The KCDC said it has identified 2,991 people who arrived here from Wuhan since Jan. 13., and South Koreans returning on chartered flights directly from Wuhan on Thursday and Friday will be quarantined for at least a fortnight for potential symptoms. Those that show clear signs of ill health will be put under immediate quarantine.

Common symptoms of the coronavirus, thought to have originated in Wuhan, central China, include fever, sore throat and breathing difficulties, with more acute cases involving chills and muscle pain.

China, meanwhile, has confirmed 170 deaths and 7,711 people infected with the virus as of early Thursday.

Outside of China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, France, Germany, Canada and the United States have confirmed cases of the new virus. Worldwide data showed 7,808 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

(LEAD) No additional virus cases for 3rd day, 41 under inspection - 2

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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