Seoul: In a development that is bound to raise concerns, South Korea on Monday reported that at least 116 people initially cleared of the novel coronavirus have tested positive again. Also Read - PM Modi Speaks to South Korean President, Discusses Coronavirus Situation, Its Impact on Economy
The news is particularly disheartening because the country had managed to flatten the curve after strict implementation of social distancing protocols, and was even looking to ease those rigorous recommendations.
Overall there were only 25 new cases in South Korea on Monday, but the rise in ‘reactivated’ patients has put all efforts in vain. The exact reasons for this are not clear as of now and officials are still investigating the cause of the apparent relapses.
However, Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), has said the virus may have been reactivated rather than the patients being re-infected. Some other officials have blamed the faulty COVID-19 testing, while others feel that the virus could very well be present in the patient’s body, but won’t be dangerous to others.
Calling these the developments ‘worrying’, Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride said, “Does that mean that there had been a problem in testing? Does it mean that there are many more questions about this virus that the experts simply don’t know? Could it be mutating in some form?”
So far, the country has reported a total of 10,537 cases and 217 deaths. Meanwhile, citizens of South Korea have been asked to follow strict social distancing protocols at least until April 19th.