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(3rd LD) Virus-hit apartment complex under isolation, most cases linked to religious sect

All News 14:16 March 07, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 3-4, 10; CORRECTS figure in 6th para)

DAEGU, March 7 (Yonhap) -- A virus-hit apartment tower here has been under tight control as a third of its residents were infected with the new coronavirus, city officials said Saturday.

According to the city's health authorities, 46 out 142 residents at the apartment block were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. The city put the residential complex under group isolation.

The city authorities said 94 of the residents were members of the Shincheonji church, including all 46 who were diagnosed with the contagious disease.

The religious sect, deemed responsible for the virus outbreak here, has been associated with around 60 percent of all confirmed cases in the country.

This photo taken on March 7, 2020, shows an apartment complex in Daegu that has been under isolation after group transmissions of the new coronavirus broke out among its residents. (Yonhap)

South Korea has so far reported 6,767 cases, with more than 5,000 infections reported in Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The apartment block, which consists of two five-story buildings, is run by the city for unmarried working women who are under 35 years old. A total of 142 people live in 137 flats.

Cohort isolation is a way to contain the virus by putting patients and medical personnel under a group quarantine.

Following a mass infection at a hospital ward in Cheongdo County in North Gyeongsang Province near Daegu, province officials recently carried out cohort isolation at 581 welfare facilities as part of precautionary measures.

The city government said it has sent text messages to residents notifying them of a full entry and exit ban, which applies to all residents and delivery workers.

Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin also said the city has identified 10 places that are suspected as group residences for Shincheonji followers, adding the city plans to look into the venues and take appropriate measures.

This photo taken on March 7, 2020, shows a notice in front of an apartment complex in Daegu that has been under isolation after group transmissions of the new coronavirus broke out among its residents. (Yonhap)


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