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South Korea reports zero new domestic coronavirus cases

Agence France-Presse
South Korea reports zero new domestic coronavirus cases
South Korean nurses wearing protective gear arrive for their shift to care for patients infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus at Keimyung University Daegu Dongsan Hospital in Daegu on April 29, 2020. South Korea once had the largest outbreak outside China, where the disease first emerged, but appears to have brought it under control with an extensive "trace, test and treat" programme.
AFP / Jung Yeon-je

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea reported zero new locally transmitted coronavirus cases Thursday, the first time no infections have been recorded since the disease was detected in the country more than 70 days ago.

Health authorities reported one new death, taking the toll to 247.

The country has seen 10,765 cases since its first infection was reported on February 18.

For a time it had the world's second-largest outbreak before the spread was brought under control through widespread testing and a contact-tracing drive, along with widely observed social distancing.

With a dwindling number of cases, the South held a national election on April 15, becoming among the first countries with a major outbreak to do so since the global pandemic began.

The election was run with a raft of safety measures in place, including a requirement that voters wear face masks and gloves.

It saw the highest turnout for a generation and handed President Moon Jae-in's Democratic party a parliamentary majority in what was seen as recognition of officials' handling of the outbreak.  

"For the first time in 72 days, we have zero new domestic cases," President Moon posted on his Facebook account.

No one had been infected at polling stations, he added.

"This is the strength of South Korea and its people," the president said.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

SOUTH KOREA

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 26, 2023 - 12:04pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

January 26, 2023 - 2:01pm

The number of daily COVID-19 deaths in China has fallen by nearly 80% since the start of the month, authorities have said, in a sign that the country's unprecedented infection surge may have started to abate.

A wave of virus cases has washed over the world's most populous nation since Beijing abruptly ended its zero-COVID policy last month.

Beijing's figures are believed to only represent a fraction of the true toll, given China's narrow definition of a COVID death and official estimates that swathes of the population have been infected.

The CDC last week said nearly 13,000 people had died from Covid-related illnesses between January 13 and 19, adding to a previous announcement that around 60,000 people had succumbed to the virus in hospitals in just over a month.

But recent local government announcements and media reports have indicated that the wave may have started to recede since peaking in late December and early January when hospitals and crematoriums were packed.

There were 896 deaths attributable to the virus in hospitals on Monday, a decline of 79 percent from January 4, China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Wednesday. — AFP

January 26, 2023 - 12:04pm

The number of daily COVID-19 deaths in China has fallen by nearly 80% since the start of the month, authorities have said, in a sign that the country's unprecedented infection surge may have started to abate.

A wave of virus cases has washed over the world's most populous nation since Beijing abruptly ended its zero-COVID policy last month.

Beijing's figures are believed to only represent a fraction of the true toll, given China's narrow definition of a COVID death and official estimates that swathes of the population have been infected.

The CDC last week said nearly 13,000 people had died from Covid-related illnesses between January 13 and 19, adding to a previous announcement that around 60,000 people had succumbed to the virus in hospitals in just over a month.

But recent local government announcements and media reports have indicated that the wave may have started to recede since peaking in late December and early January when hospitals and crematoriums were packed.

There were 896 deaths attributable to the virus in hospitals on Monday, a decline of 79 percent from January 4, China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Wednesday. — AFP

January 22, 2023 - 4:14pm

China reported nearly 13,000 Covid-related deaths in hospitals between January 13 and 19, after a top health official said the vast majority of the population has already been infected by the virus.

China a week earlier said nearly 60,000 people had died with Covid in hospitals as of January 12, but there has been widespread scepticism over official data since Beijing abruptly axed anti-virus controls last month.

China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Saturday that 681 hospitalised patients had died of respiratory failure caused by coronavirus infection, and 11,977 had died of other diseases combined with an infection over the period. 

The figures do not include those who died from the virus at home.-- AFP

January 20, 2023 - 11:43am

South Korea will drop rules that require people to wear masks in most indoor spaces, authorities say, ending one of the country's last major pandemic restrictions as COVID-19 cases dwindle.

From January 30, it will no longer be mandatory to wear facemasks in most indoor spaces, except on public transport and in medical facilities.

The mask mandate has been in place since October 2020, and is one of South Korea's last remaining pandemic-era restrictions, with other rules from business curfews to social distancing long dropped. — AFP

January 19, 2023 - 10:29am

Xi Jinping says he is "concerned" about the virus situation in the Chinese countryside, state media reported, as millions of people head to rural hometowns ahead of upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

The Chinese leader also defended his zero-Covid policy -- lifted last month after crippling the economy and sparking nationwide protests -- saying it had been "the right choice".

In a series of calls Wednesday ahead of the holiday, the Chinese leader told local officials he worried about the situation in the country's rural hinterlands.

"Xi said he was primarily concerned about rural areas and rural residents after the country adjusted its Covid-19 response measures," state news agency Xinhua reports.

He "stressed efforts to improve medical care for those most vulnerable to the virus in rural areas," Xinhua says.

"Epidemic prevention and control has entered a new stage, and we are still in a period that requires great efforts," Xi was reported as saying, stressing the need to "address the shortcomings in epidemic prevention and control in rural areas". — AFP

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