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S. Korea reports 5 new coronavirus cases, total now at 11

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Korea on Friday confirmed five more cases of a still rapidly spreading and deadly coronavirus, including four cases of human-to-human transmission, as the government struggles to rein in the virus. The total number of infected people here stands at 11. 

Two of the infected people were believed to have contracted the virus through a family member, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 55-year-old man, the country’s sixth confirmed case of the virus, was the first case of human-to-human transmission of the viral disease. He was infected through a 54-year-old man, the third confirmed case, as they had a meal together at a restaurant in southern Seoul. Eight people who came into contact with the sixth patient are now in isolation, according to the health agency.

Another person who tested positive is a friend of a 33-year-old man who had visited Wuhan on business and showed no symptoms of the virus when he was screened at the airport upon returning. The new patient is one of 10 people linked to the case who had been in self-imposed isolation.

Another infected person, a 62-year-old woman, arrived at Incheon Airport on Jan. 23 via the Chinese port city of Qingdao after visiting Wuhan, China, ground zero of the coronavirus infection. 

Earlier in the day, another case of the coronavirus infection was reported.

A 28-year-old man who visited Wuhan and returned to Korea via Qingdao on Jan. 23, tested positive late Thursday. The man, who had been under governmental monitoring and self-imposed isolation at home, started to cough Sunday, showed symptoms of cold Tuesday and had a high fever the next day, the health agency said. Two people who came into contact with him are in self-imposed isolation.

The additional confirmed cases come as the first evacuation plane carrying 368 South Koreans from Wuhan arrived to Seoul on Friday morning. The passengers have been placed in isolation for a 14-day period at quarantine facilities in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, and Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province. Another charter plane is set to be sent to Wuhan on Friday night.

As the virus spreads rapidly outside China, the World Health Organization has declared the Wuhan coronavirus a global public health emergency. The virus has killed at least 213 people worldwide, with about 9,800 infections confirmed as of Friday. It has spread to 22 countries, including Thailand, France, the US and Australia.

(laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)
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