Novel coronavirus cases in South Korea rose by 36 to 14,305 on Friday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s database.
Of the new cases, 14 were locally transmitted and 22 imported. One more person died in the 24 hours ending Thursday at midnight, putting the death toll at 301.
Travel-related cases continue to outnumber local cases. To keep out imported infections, authorities have imposed more stringent measures on people arriving from countries deemed “high-risk.”
In a regular coronavirus briefing Friday, Yoon Tae-ho, the director general for public health policy at the Health Ministry, said the government was constantly monitoring the coronavirus situation abroad and adjusting its border policies accordingly.
On Friday morning, 72 Korean workers were brought home from Iraq on two military planes. Health officials said 31 had symptoms. Their repatriation follows the deaths of three Korean nationals from COVID-19 in the Middle Eastern country, which has reported over 18,300 cases.
Yoon said the government plans to create some 93,000 jobs involving coronavirus duties such as disinfecting affected areas, detecting safety protocol violations and screening individuals for symptoms in public spaces.
Medical institutions will be compensated for losses caused by the coronavirus, the ministry said. Some 202 hospitals and coronavirus facilities are eligible for a total of 1.07 billion won ($899,500). The ministry has handed out 2.95 billion won to virus-hit hospitals so far in two rounds of relief measures implemented in May and June.
“The government will provide relief funding to hospitals treating coronavirus patients or otherwise struggling financially from the crisis on a monthly basis,” Yoon of the Health Ministry said.
Starting in late August, businesses that have had to shut down because an infected person visited will be compensated as well.
Cities and provinces that agree to accommodate passengers who require a two-week quarantine will be paid government incentives. There are 52 quarantine sites across the country where some 36,000 people have stayed and received care so far. Since April, everyone arriving in Korea must undergo a 14-day quarantine.
While health officials say having coronavirus facilities in a neighborhood poses “almost no risk” to local residents, such facilities have met with objections due to contagion fears. “The government plans to have at least one or at most two more set up by next month,” Yoon said.
The ministry said KTX trains will take on fewer quarantined passengers during the Chuseok holiday, which falls Sept. 30-Oct. 2 this year and is a time when high-speed trains are expected to be crowded. Some KTX train compartments are currently reserved for people placed in quarantine as they travel to designated lodgings.
Yoon said as movements increase over the summer holiday season, compliance with safety guidance is important. “Keep a 2-meter distance from others. Try not to eat in restaurants as much as possible. And remember that the best place to stay safe is at home,” he said.
By Kim Arin (firstname.lastname@example.org