COVID-19

South Korea: no new domestic coronavirus cases, no transmission from election

National Election Commission officials count ballots for the parliamentary elections, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Seoul, South Korea, April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji - RC2Z4G9ZNBOB

Despite nearly 30 million people coming out to vote, South Korea's recent parliamentary elections resulted in 0 transmissions of the coronavirus disease. Image: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji - RC2Z4G9ZNBOB

Sangmi Cha
Reporter, Reuters
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  • On 30 April, South Korea reported no new domestic coronavirus cases for the first time since February.
  • It's believed that not a single case was transmitted during the country's parliamentary elections, which were held two weeks ago, due to strict hygiene and social distancing measures.
  • Cases of recovered patients testing positive again are now thought to be 'false positives'.

South Korea on 30th April, reported no new domestic coronavirus cases for the first time since February, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

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KCDC reported four new infections, all imported cases, taking the national tally to 10,765. The death toll rose by one to 247, while 9,059 have been discharged.

Of the total, 1,065 were imported cases, where more than 90% were Koreans, according to a KCDC statement.

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It's believed not a single case was transmitted during the country's parliamentary elections. Image: Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The health authorities also concluded no local transmission occurred from a parliamentary election this month, where authorities took safety measures, including requiring voters to wear masks and plastic gloves when casting ballots.

“Twenty-nine million voters participated in the April 15 parliamentary election ... Not one case related to the election has been reported during the 14 days of incubation period,” Yoon Tae-ho, director general for public health policy, told a briefing.

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Yoon thanked staff and voters, who disinfected polling stations across the country and maintained 1 metre (40 inches) distance between each other.

A clinical expert panel on 29th April also concluded that recovered coronavirus patients who later test positive for the virus again were not “reactivated” or reinfected, but were false positives.

The head of the committee said the false positives were due to technical limits of PCR testing. The country has so far reported 292 such cases.

After grappling with the first major outbreak outside China, South Korea has largely managed to bring the outbreak under control without major disruptions with a massive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing.

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