SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- Only 26 of 5,002 people in the greater Seoul area have antibodies against the novel coronavirus, a test showed Thursday, reinforcing views that the nation's aggressive containment efforts might have curbed the prevalence of the virus.
However, the antibody rate of 0.52 percent among those in the wider Seoul area, which includes Gyeonggi Province and Incheon City, was higher than a rate of 0.15 percent in last year's antibody test, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
In a statement, the KDCA said a second and third wave of infections, which have centered on the greater Seoul area, appear to have helped raise the higher antibody rate.
Still, antibody rates in South Korea are extremely low compared with other nations and global cities. Data from the World Health Organization shows that the rate is less than 10 percent in 398 regions in the world.
The latest results were based on serology tests conducted between Jan. 30 and March 3, according to the KDCA.
A separate antibody test showed that only 21 of 10,253 conscripted soldiers have COVID-19 antibodies, the KDCA said.
Of them, eight soldiers have no history of COVID-19, the KDCA said, adding that young people must strictly follow containment rules.
To better check the antibody rate in the country, health authorities said they plan to conduct serology tests on at least 32,000 people this year.
Serology tests are used to figure out how many people have been infected with COVID-19 since antibodies are usually developed after people contract the virus.
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