By Kim Arin
The Korea Herald/ANN
South Korea reported 79 cases of novel coronavirus Thursday, recording the highest single-day daily increase since April 5. The nationwide total now stands at 11,344.
Sixty-eight of the 79 new cases were from local transmission, health officials said, as fresh flare-ups of coronavirus emerged across the greater Seoul area.
Sixty-nine people at a Coupang logistics center in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, have tested positive for COVID-19, health officials confirmed Thursday.
As infections spread rapidly among workers at the e-commerce company, the city announced Wednesday it was reinstating “intense” physical distancing, a nationwide guidance that expired on May 6.
In a Facebook statement posted Wednesday, the mayor of Bucheon said the city has identified 3,626 people with ties to the distribution center, only a small fraction of whom have undergone testing.
Classes in Bucheon will be once again suspended except for high school seniors, he said, and high-risk communal spaces will be closed again.
Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Jung Eun-kyeong said in a Wednesday briefing that regions experiencing active outbreaks may need to review returning to stringent physical distancing.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Lee Jacob of Seoul’s Hallym University Hospital said in a Facebook statement Wednesday that “Seoul and the surrounding regions may have to boost distancing measures yet again.”
The mayor also cautioned against coronavirus blame game, saying, Coupang workers were “hardworking people.”
“Nobody is to blame for coronavirus, and getting sick is no cause for blame,” he said.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a Central Disaster Management Headquarters meeting Thursday that a lack of safety precautions in the workplace seems attributable for the outbreak at Coupang center.
“Virus countermeasures such as wearing face masks and taking leave when feeling sick do not appear to be have been followed at the facility,” he said.