COVID-19 runs ahead in cat-and-mouse game with quarantine authorities: official

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : June 10, 2020, 16:49 | Updated : June 12, 2020, 13:03

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- COVID-19 is always running ahead in a desperate cat-and-mouse game with quarantine officials, making it difficult to preclude cross-contamination by confirmed virus carriers in crowded urban areas, a top health official said.

South Korea eased strict social distancing in early May after achieving a certain degree of success in its battle to contain a COVID-19 epidemic, but the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has struggled with dozens of new cases every day for almost three weeks, especially in Seoul and its surrounding province. As of June 10, 1,015 patients are under treatment at designated hospitals. 

"We once again realize how difficult it is to establish and institutionalize quarantine rules in daily life, especially in the Seoul metropolitan area," KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a regular press briefing, adding health officials are trying hard to sever the connection of infection.

Jeong warned that South Korea should brace for a long-running fight as it's difficult to root out COVID-19 in a short period of time until fundamental solutions such as vaccines are prepared. "Quarantine authorities are also trying to control the scale and speed of outbreaks to a level that our medical, quarantine and social systems can handle by keeping social distancing and complying with personal quarantine rules."

Due to a short incubation period, health officials often detect virus carriers after cross-contamination occurred, Jeong said, urging those who show minor symptoms to be careful and quickly get tested for COVID-19.

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