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(3rd LD) Ex-President Park tests negative for COVID-19 after being exposed to patient

All News 15:17 January 20, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 6-8)

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- Former President Park Geun-hye, now serving a 22-year prison term on corruption convictions, tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday after coming into contact with an infected person, the Ministry of Justice said.

According to the ministry, Park came into close contact with a prison officer diagnosed later with COVID-19 while traveling by bus to a medical facility on Monday outside the Seoul Detention Center, where she has been imprisoned since March 2017.

The prison officer tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the ministry said, noting he wore a mask throughout the bus ride with Park.

In this file photo, former President Park Geun-hye heads to the Seoul Central District Court to attend her trial in Seoul on Sept. 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

The polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test was administered on Park on Wednesday morning, the ministry said.

Park will be put under isolation at the outside medical facility for a certain period of time as a precaution and due to her old age even though she tested negative for the coronavirus, the ministry said.

The place of Park's isolation is known to be Seoul St. Mary's Hospital in southern Seoul, where she has intermittently received treatment for a lumbar disc condition and other ailments.

In September 2019, the former president underwent surgery for a frozen left shoulder at the same hospital.

The 68-year-old Park served as president from February 2013 to March 2017.

The Supreme Court last week upheld a 20-year sentence for Park in her high-profile corruption case, closing the yearslong saga that gripped the country and ultimately removed her from office in 2017.

Park will have to serve 22 years in prison, which includes a two-year prison term for her 2018 conviction for illegal meddling in a nomination process of the then ruling Saenuri Party.


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