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Virus transmission increasingly traced to restaurants, bars: KCDC

Nearly 10 percent of patients have untraceable origin

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korea’s health authorities on Friday urged the public to hold back on outdoor activities or gathering in groups over the weekend to halt the virus spread that is increasingly taking place at restaurants and bars.

Since last month there have been four small-scale outbreaks tied to restaurants and six linked to bars, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Transmissions are happening at eateries and pubs. … If there is a patient present, there is a high possibility of virus spread at these crowded and confined places where people consume food and drinks, and engage in conversations without wearing their masks,” KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said during an afternoon briefing on COVID-19.

Jung pleaded with the public for extra vigilance this weekend and to cut down on unnecessary in-person meetings.

The renewed request came as the ratio of patients with unknown route of transmission made up nearly 10 percent of cases, indicative of “silent spreaders” in the community who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

The country’s case count stood at 12,306 on Friday, up 49 from a day earlier, as the deadly disease looks set to stay for the time being, according to the KCDC.

The death toll stayed flat at 280, it added.

A total of 32 patients were infected in the community -- Seoul reported 18 new cases and 11 in Gyeonggi Province, to name a few -- while 17 patients were from overseas, according to the KCDC.

The central city Daejeon that has emerged as the latest region of concern due to infection clusters added six patients largely tied to a door-to-door sales firms and a religious group.

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)
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