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(2nd LD) S. Korea alert over community spread, 1 more case added to bring total to 31

All News 12:05 February 18, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4-7, 11-14; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday remained on alert over further spread of the new coronavirus here as it identified another virus case currently believed to be without link to known clusters, bringing the total number of infections here to 31.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the latest patient is a 61-year-old South Korean woman who lives in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and was confirmed not to have been abroad recently.

After testing positive at a public health center, the woman was placed in quarantine for treatment and monitoring. The public health authorities said they are tracing the patient's steps and working to find out how she contracted the illness.

The latest case again raises concerns over the spread of the disease without a link to known clusters of the COVID-19 virus and marks the first time that a virus patient has been reported in the southwestern Gyeongsang region of the country.

Most of the previous cases have been centered in and around Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, with a few incidents taking place in Gwangju and the Jeolla region in the southeastern part of the country.

A notice at a public health center in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, informs people on Feb. 18, 2020, that the facility will be closed temporally for disinfection after the country's 31st patient was checked by medical staff at the facility. (Yonhap)

The KCDC said it is still unclear how the country's 29th and 30th virus patients were infected with COVID-19, as they had not had contact with other confirmed patients or been abroad recently.

The number of people being checked for the virus and under quarantine came to 957 as of early Tuesday, up from 708 the day before, the KCDC said.

South Korea has screened 9,265 people for COVID-19 since Jan. 3, with 8,277 testing negative. The country also has discharged a total of 12 patients from quarantine as they fully recovered.

The country said the 12th and 14th patients, who are a Chinese couple, had been treated at a hospital south of Seoul and discharged after they tested negative for COVID-19 twice in the last 24 hours.

The 12th patient is a 48-year-old man who was confirmed to have been infected on Feb. 1, while the 14th patient is a 40-year-old woman who tested positive on Feb. 2.

The KCDC said other virus patients are in stable condition, and more patients are likely to be discharged as well, according to the KCDC.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
(END)

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