South Korea has reported no new domestic coronavirus cases for the first time since February, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
The 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.
South Korea’s caseload has been slowing in recent weeks after it recorded hundreds of new cases every day between late February and early March. The government has subsequently relaxed some of its social distancing guidelines. It expected to ease up on more restrictions in coming days if its caseload maintains a decline.
Despite the signs of a slowdown, local health authorities urged caution in the coming days, when people are expected to go on trips and visit relatives during a series of public holidays.
South Koreans celebrate Buddha’s birthday on Thursday, with May Day to follow on Friday and Children’s Day next Tuesday.
The health authorities concluded that 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 15 April 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.
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 Wednesday 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.
Source: The Guardian