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(LEAD) Vice health minister tests positive for COVID-19

All News 21:41 February 11, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 5-6)

SEOUL, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) -- A senior health and welfare ministry official has tested positive for COVID-19, his office said Friday amid worries over a spike in infections of the omicron variant and its spread among high-ranking government officials.

Second Vice Health and Welfare Minister Ryu Geun-hyuk took the polymerase chain reaction examination earlier in the day after having tested positive with a self-test kit, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

He has been deeply involved in anti-pandemic efforts since the second vice ministerial post was launched in September 2020.

All of his public schedules have been cancelled, and the ministry instructed those who have come in close contact with him to take tests.

Ryu attended the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters meeting Wednesday and Friday. No other high-ranking participants, including Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol, have tested positive using the rapid antigen tests so far.

Ryu, who has been fully vaccinated, including receiving a booster shot in December, currently remains asymptomatic.

Ryu's case was the latest in recent infections of high-ranking government officials.

On Monday, Koh Seung-beom, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, tested positive for the virus. Labor Minister An Kyung-duk was also confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 on Sunday and has become the first Cabinet member testing positive for the virus.

South Korea's daily COVID-19 infections stayed above 50,000 for the second day in a row Friday amid the fast spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant across the nation.

Second Vice Health and Welfare Minister Ryu Geun-hyuk speaks during a meeting held in the central city of Sejong on Feb. 9, 2022. (Yonhap)

Second Vice Health and Welfare Minister Ryu Geun-hyuk speaks during a meeting held in the central city of Sejong on Feb. 9, 2022. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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