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(3rd LD) S. Korea reports 3 more cases of novel coronavirus, total now at 15

Welfare/Medicine 13:39 February 02, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout)

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Sunday reported three more cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total here to 15, with 87 people in quarantine for detailed checks, amid concerns over person-to-person transmission.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the 13th case involved a 28-year-old man who was one of the 368 Koreans that were brought back from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Friday.

The man had been initially moved to a state run facility in Asan, 90 kilometers southwest of Seoul on Friday, as he showed no symptoms upon arrival.

But he complained of feeling ill the following day and tested positive for the coronavirus. He has since been transported to a hospital in Seoul and quarantined, the public health agency said.

"Of the first batch of people airlifted, all with the exception of the 13th patient have tested negative for the virus," the center said. Of the 333 Koreans flown back Saturday, seven have undergone a detailed examination that turned out negative, with tests on the remaining 326 ongoing."

A South Korean man, who was among passengers airlifted on a chartered plane from Wuhan, China, and showed signs of illness, arrives at the National Medical Center in Seoul on Feb. 1, 2020. (Yonhap)

The country's 14th case is a 40-year-old Chinese woman who is the wife of the Chinese man diagnosed with the new coronavirus strain here Saturday.

The man, the country's 12th case, worked as a tour guide in Japan and came in contact with a Japanese man who was also diagnosed with the infection. The Chinese man arrived in South Korea on Jan. 19, but he was symptom-free upon arrival and had freely moved about the country.

The center said it has identified 138 people the man ran into while in the country and various places he visited, and is scrambling to contact those that could have been infected to see if they are feeling sick. It said the man's daughter is in isolation although showing no symptoms yet.

The 15th case is a 43-year-old South Korean man who was in Wuhan, the epicenter of the current outbreak, and returned Jan. 20. Authorities said he is under observation.

The KCDC said it is tracking the movements of all new patients to determine where they were and whom they met, with information to be made public as soon as possible.

The public health agency said it has determined two or three of the confirmed patients here actually worked or visited a Korean fashion and accessory shopping mall in Wuhan, called The Place, and asked anyone who has been there recently to notify quarantine workers so they can be checked.

Since Jan. 3, Seoul said it has screened 429 people for potential contagion, 327 of whom turned out not to be infected, with 87 undergoing tests. It said 683 people who had been in close proximity to virus-infected patients are being monitored carefully.

Seoul said that as of early Sunday, the new coronavirus has been reported in 26 countries and has affected over 14,500 people. It said the death toll stands at 304, with all fatalities occurring in China.
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