South Korea tells Samsung memorial attendees to get tested after COVID-19 case emerges

Sangmi Cha, Reuters

Posted at Nov 05 2020 05:51 PM

South Korea tells Samsung memorial attendees to get tested after COVID-19 case emerges 1
A flag bearing the logo of Samsung flutters at half-mast in front of its office building in Seoul, South Korea, October 28, 2020. Heo Ran, Reuters

SEOUL - South Korea said on Thursday it had alerted about 1,000 people who attended the memorial of the late Samsung Group patriarch Lee Kun-hee last week to get tested for the coronavirus after one person at the event tested positive.

A local journalist who had covered the memorial developed symptoms 2 days later and tested positive on Monday, health authorities said. At least 6 new coronavirus cases, including 2 colleagues and 2 family members had been linked to the journalist, the authorities said.

Kwak Jin, an official at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), told a briefing that no cases had yet been directly linked to the funeral home at the Samsung Medical Center, including that of the journalist, who wore a mask during the event.

Visitors to the event included many high-profile business leaders, politicians and senior presidential aides.

Some of the visitors who had already tested negative for the virus after the memorial included a deputy national security advisor Kim Hyun-chong and the Jeju governor Won Hee-ryong, according to the presidential Blue House and the Jeju city.

South Korea has used aggressive testing and contact tracing in a bid to contain the virus and was lauded as a success story in the beginning of the pandemic, but has been fighting daily cases that have hovered around 100 over the past week.

People attended the memorial over 4 days to pay their respects in an area capped for 50 people, while visitors also wore masks as required in public places to control the spread of COVID-19.

South Korea reported 125 new coronavirus cases as of Wednesday midnight, bringing the total number of infections to 27,050, and the COVID-19 death toll to 475. 

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