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91 recovered virus patients test positive again: KCDC

All Headlines 16:14 April 10, 2020

SEOUL, April 10 (Yonhap) -- More than 90 people who fully recovered from the novel coronavirus have tested positive for COVID-19 again, health authorities here said Friday.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said a total of 91 people had tested positive for the new coronavirus after they were released from quarantine.

KCDC Director-General Jeong Eun-kyeong said a viral test on such cases is currently under way, with the results expected at least two weeks later, unlike regular swab tests used to test for COVID-19 that shows results in a relatively shorter time.

Medical staff at Dongsan Hospital in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, put on protective gear as they get ready to treat novel coronavirus patients on April 9, 2020. (Yonhap)

"We are isolating viral cells from respiratory organs of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 again," Jeong told reporters.

The KCDC said it is also looking into whether those who retested positive have an antibody that would indicate whether they have recovered, as some health experts said immune people with the antibody are not contagious.

Health authorities here have said the virus was highly likely to have been reactivated, instead of the people being reinfected, as they tested positive again in a relatively short time after being released from quarantine.

Other virologists and epidemiologists also said the positive results from the retesting may have come from the virus reactivating and not from wrong diagnoses.

They also said the COVID-19 virus may remain latent in certain cells in the body and attack the respiratory organs again once reactivated

A COVID-19 patient is deemed fully recovered after showing negative results for two tests in row performed within a 24-hour interval.

The country's COVID-19 infections fell below 30 for the first time since Feb. 20 on Friday, according to the KCDC. The 27 new cases, detected Thursday and down from 39 a day ago, brought the nation's total infections to 10,450.

khj@yna.co.kr
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