South Korea warns of ‘medical collapse’ as it rushes to control coronavirus surge

SEOUL – South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Monday to expand Corona virus Testing and more thorough tracing, as the country struggles to control the latest and largest wave of infections.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 615 new coronavirus cases as of midnight on Sunday, a three-digit increase every month, confirming 8,311 different cases so far.

The surge in cases has come as a shock South Korea’s distributed epidemic-fighting system, Which successfully uses aggressive tracing, testing, and quarantine to lockdown, release past waves, and keep infections below 50 per day for most of the summer.

Moon ordered the government to mobilize every available resource to warn Chen, and to expand the test by deploying troops and more people from the public service, President Blue House spokesman Chung Man-ho said in a briefing.

Chung said test sites should work longer so that working people can be tested at their convenience and more drive-through testing facilities can be set up.

According to the KDC, the positive rate of the latest batch of exams was about 4.2 per cent compared to the annual average of 1.2 per cent.

Starting next week, test centers will begin using a test kit designed to more easily collect samples from saliva, hopefully reducing the difficulty they encountered when trying to collect used samples, said Seong-Wong, KDCA’s deputy director. Said a briefing.

When questions remain on their accuracy, the centers will also begin using antigen tests – which are supposed to detect specific proteins from the virus – as a stopgap, Nae said.

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Nae predicted that between 50-750 cases per day would run this week, possibly as many as 900 per day next week.

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“This crisis is by far the most decisive,” he said, warning that an outbreak could lead to a “medical collapse” if the numbers are not included.

Discuss new solutions

On Sunday, officials said they would impose social distance rules for the capital Seoul and surrounding areas that would last until at least the end of the month.

With this third wave, the government has faced growing criticism as cases continue to grow despite measures such as mask orders, curfews for restaurants and other businesses, and bans on public transport.

Among the facilities used by students for additional study are private academies or Kram school, called “Hagwon”, which have been ordered to close completely.

Medial workers take a coronavirus-infected patient in an ambulance to an elderly care facility in Ulsan, South Korea, on Monday.Kim Young-tai / AP

The Korea Association HF Hagvons staged a rare public protest against the explicit ban on Hagvons in the greater Seoul area, saying it was discriminatory because other businesses, including frequent PC cafes and movie theaters, are still allowed to remain open until 9 p.m.

The ban has raised concerns among many students and parents ahead of the final exam period, and will intensify inequality by increasing private tutoring, which only good students can afford, it added.

Commenting on the meeting of his senior ministers, Moon described the wave of infection as the most serious yet and apologized for the failure to increase the boom and the burden caused by social distance restrictions.

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The total share from Sunday to Monday was slightly lower, while the agency reported 1,631 new cases, the highest daily number in February and early March.

In all, there were 938,111 reported cases in South Korea, with 954 deaths.

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