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(2nd LD) Coronavirus presumed as factor in S. Korean man's death

All News 17:16 February 21, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4-6)

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- The new coronavirus likely was a factor in the death of a South Korean man who posthumously tested positive for COVID-19, the health authorities said Friday.

The 63-year-old man who died of pneumonia Wednesday at a hospital in the southeastern city of Cheongdo was confirmed to be infected Thursday, marking the country's first death of someone infected with the novel coronavirus.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the patient's death is presumed to be related to the viral infection. But how big a part it played in his death is unclear as his condition might have worsened due to other factors. He had been suffering from a chronic respiratory condition.

A hospital worker at a hospital in Cheongdo, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, disinfects an entrance way after many patients and workers were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on Feb. 21, 2020. (Yonhap)

The authorities have been testing some 600 patients and medical staff at the hospital since Wednesday that includes five nurses. A total of 16 people at the hospital have tested positive for the infectious disease.

The country had 204 people infected with COVID-19, with 16,400 people having been screened for the virus since Jan. 3, and 13,016 having tested negative. It said 3,180 are in isolation and being checked for the novel coronavirus.

Health authorities said that while many patients have made full recovery after two weeks of being treated in quarantine, there are presently six or seven patients in "relatively serious" condition.

It said six people are on respirators and one patient is being monitored carefully by doctors.

So far, 17 virus patients have been discharged from quarantine after making full recoveries.


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