Korea Confirms 4th Case of Coronavirus

Jay Yim, Jan. 28, 2020, 10:14 a.m.

Korea reported its fourth case of coronavirus infection on Monday. Health authorities said the 55-year-old Korean man returned home on Jan. 20 after visiting the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Only on Sunday another 54-year-old man was diagnosed with the Wuhan virus. He reportedly does business in the Chinese city including fashion and medical tourism.

Around 2,900 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported around the world so far, and at least 81 have died.

Unlike the first two cases -- a Chinese traveler and an Korean man from Wuhan who were quarantined on arrival at Incheon and Gimpo international airports -- the two men had moved around Seoul and surrounding areas for more than five days, raising fears that they spread the highly infectious virus.

The third victim had come into contact with at least 74 people since he arrived here on Jan. 20, staying in a hotel in Gangnam and visiting a department store and supermarket in Ilsan north of Seoul.

The fourth patient was placed in quarantine on Sunday after being diagnosed with pneumonia in a hospital in Pyeongtaek south of the capital.

One medical worker in a plastic surgery clinic in Gangnam, who came into contact with the third case, developed a fever and is being tested.

President Moon Jae-in in a meeting on Monday urged officials to gather information on everyone coming here from Wuhan. The Ministry of Health and Welfare raised its four-level alert from second to third for the first time since the global swine flu pandemic in 2009, when it eventually rose to fourth.

The government will send a chartered plane to Wuhan as early as Thursday to evacuate around 500 Koreans who remain there as the city went into lockdown.

The Korean Consulate in Wuhan posted a notice on its website on Monday inviting email applications for the flight until midday. But Koreans with a temperature of more than 37.5 degrees Celsius or non-Korean nationals will not be allowed to board, which the consulate said is the policy of the Chinese government.

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