South Korea has seen its first coronavirus death after Daegu city’s 2.5million people were put on lock-down today after the country’s cases nearly doubled to over 100.
Mayor Kwon Young-jin made a televised address, urging citizens to wear masks and remain indoors while revealing his concerns that the contagion could rapidly overwhelm the city’s health infrastructure.
A man in his 60s in neighbouring North Gyeongsang province tested positive for the coronavirus after dying Wednesday following symptoms of pneumonia, authorities said.
The surge in cases comes after a 61-year-old woman, known as ‘Patient 31’, came down with a fever on February 10 but continued attending the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a nationwide ‘cult.’
The Deagu branch of the sect has around 8,000 congregants and 37 of its members, as well as ‘Patient 31’ have been stricken by the deadly contagion known as Covid-19.
South Korean health officials wearing protective suit and spraying disinfectant in front of the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu on Wednesday
A patient suspected of carrying the new coronavirus, named COVID-19, arrives at Kyungpook National University Hospital in Daegu, South Korea
Daegu’s municipal government said 1,001 Shincheonji members who were believed to have attended the same services as the woman had been asked to self-quarantine (pictured: a patient arrives at hospital on Wednesday)
Patient 31 is believed to have attended at least four services since she fell ill and refused to be tested on the grounds she had not recently travelled abroad.
The woman is also believed to have contaminated another person at the hospital.
Shincheonji claims that its founder Lee Man-hee has donned the mantle of Jesus Christ and will take 144,000 people with him to Heaven, body and soul, on the Day of Judgement.
Daegu’s municipal government said 1,001 Shincheonji members who were believed to have attended the same services as the woman had been asked to self-quarantine.
A total of 43 cases have been confirmed in the city and neighbouring North Gyeongsang province, and Daegu mayor Kwon urged residents: ‘Starting from today, please refrain from leaving your house as much as possible.’
The emergency units at all four general hospitals in Daegu have been closed as a precaution, a city official told AFP.
Shincheonji claims that its founder Lee Man-hee (left) has donned the mantle of Jesus Christ and will take 144,000 people with him to Heaven, body and soul, on the Day of Judgement
Workers from a disinfection service company sanitize a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony where a woman known as ‘Patient 31’ attended a service in Daegu, South Korea
Workers wearing protective gears spray disinfectant against the new coronavirus in front of a church in Daegu
The mayor’s request is not binding but one online poster who said they were in the city tweeted: ‘I can’t go out because of Shincheonji and it’s driving me crazy. Convenience stores and elderly community centres are closed, it takes twice as long for food delivery. It’s really making me insane.’
The US Army garrison in the city – where around 10,000 soldiers, civilians and family members live or work – restricted access and instructed any US troops who had recently attended Shincheonji services to self-quarantine.
‘Travel in and around Daegu is highly discouraged unless absolutely necessary,’ the garrison said Thursday in a Facebook post.
‘Please avoid public places and public transportation, to include stores, restaurants, subways and other heavily congested areas.’
Shincheonji closed down all its facilities nationwide.
South Korean health officials wearing protective suit and spraying disinfectant in front of the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu
‘We are deeply sorry that because of one of our members, who thought of her condition as a cold because she had not travelled abroad, led to many in our church being infected and thereby caused concern to the local community,’ it said in a statement.
The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement that 31 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed nationwide. That took the national total to 82 – until Tuesday South Korea had only 31 confirmed infections.
Source: dailymail UK