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Govt. to inspect nationwide senior care hospitals' outbreak response systems: PM

State health authorities will examine all senior care hospitals in the country this week over their virus outbreak response systems following a recent cluster outbreak at one, the prime minister announced Wednesday.

The government will begin looking into the disease control management capacities of some 8,000 senior care hospitals across the country Thursday for two weeks, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters meeting held at the government complex in Sejong.

Chung said health authorities started examining the health conditions of some 160,000 workers and patients at such hospitals this week.

The measure was announced in light of a recent cluster outbreak at a hospital in the southeastern port city of Busan, where 73 tested positive.

Highlighting cases in which commuting hospital workers ended up serving as conduits of the virus' travel into hospital buildings, the prime minister ordered authorities to devise ways to block transmissions caused by outside factors.

Chung also stated that the government will actively support mask exports by local producers, noting that the volume in domestic mask production has climbed substantially.

Effective Friday, the government will lift the export ban on nonwoven fabrics that are used to produce protective masks as the domestic supply of the materials and masks stabilized.

The ban was imposed earlier this year when the country ran out of melt-blown nonwoven fabric filters amid soaring demand for protective masks at the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Yonhap)