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All ministries join hands to stage an all-out war to control the spread of Novel Coronavirus

  • Date : 2020-01-30
  • Hit : 1381

All ministries join hands to stage an all-out war to control the spread of Novel Coronavirus

- President Moon Jae-in presides over the meeting to comprehensively review Novel Coronavirus measures -
- Quarantine staff will be expanded, the public health center system will be realigned to prioritize Novel Coronavirus cases, and those put under isolation will be compensated -

□ The meeting to comprehensively review measures to combat Novel Coronavirus was held at the Government Complex Seoul at 10:30am today presided over by President Moon Jae-in and attended by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, relevant Ministers, and mayors and governors of 17 cities and provinces.

<1> Current status of Novel Coronavirus infection response and pan-governmental support measures

□ The current status of the Novel Coronavirus infection response and pan-governmental support measures were discussed first, followed by the decision to take all-out measures on a governmental level to prevent the further entry of Novel Coronavirus and its spread within the community.

□ The government decided to expand the number of quarantine staff members to thoroughly block the entry of the virus through the quarantine inspection. As many as 250 from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of National Defense, and Korean National Police Agency were stationed at quarantine checkpoints at Incheon International Airport, etc., in the first phase. Additional staff members will also be provided as soon as possible, including 106 dispatched by the Ministry of Defense today, in consideration of the rapidly increasing quarantine workload.

○ Furthermore, measures were taken to station more epidemiological inspection officers at lower-level local governments (cities, counties, and districts).
○ To ensure that counseling concerning cases suspected to be Novel Coronavirus infections is provided as smoothly as possible, the number of counselors at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) call center (1339) have been increased drastically from 19 to 28. Also, epidemiological inspection officers will be additionally stationed at lower-level local governments.

□ The Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service is conducting a full inspection on the 2,991 travelers who entered Korea from Wuhan during the period from January 13 to January 26.
*Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service: 1644-2000

○ The institution is checking the condition of these travelers every day by phone and putting those showing respiratory problems under isolation for a more detailed examination.
○ Administrative measures were taken to prevent children and school personnel who visited Hubei from returning to daycare centers, preschools, and schools without penalizing their attendance record.

- Infection control guidelines are being distributed to welfare facilities serving seniors, people with disabilities, etc., who are particularly vulnerable to infection to place on leave those staff members who visited Hubei within the past 14 days.

□ The government plans to realign the workforce and functions of frontline public health centers and enable them to fully focus their resources on combating the Novel Coronavirus strain by operating screening clinics and managing those who have interacted with confirmed or suspected patients.

○ The regular consultation and health promotion tasks of local public health centers were reduced as a result, thus enabling them to better focus on responding to Novel Coronavirus infection.
○ Also, regional and local emergency care centers plan to minimize the possibility of infection within healthcare institutions by requiring visitors to check for fever before entering the hospital premises and, if identified as having a fever, etc., to undergo diagnosis at a screening clinic before entering the emergency care center.
○ Currently, the diagnostic examination to rapidly inspect suspected cases is being conducted at 18 Research Institutes of Public Health and Environment. From early February onwards, it will also be offered at private healthcare institutions.

□ The criteria for isolated treatment, etc., will be improved to enable healthcare staff members to more flexibly care for patients with infectious diseases who are deemed to be at a high risk of infection.

□ All relevant ministries will cooperate in closely monitoring and aggressively dealing with false information that uses government-related logos and aggravates the public's confusion and anxiety in any manner.

<2> Plans to assist the return of Korean citizens staying in Wuhan and provide humanitarian support

□ The government will send chartered flights to Wuhan and nearby regions to bring Korean citizens back to Korea.

○ The number of chartered flights will be determined in accordance with those wishing to return to Korea, and the government will complete related negotiations with the Chinese government as soon as possible.
○ Korean citizens returning from China will be required to undergo quarantine conducted by Korean quarantine officers upon arrival in addition to pre-departure quarantine by the Chinese authorities prior to boarding.
○ The government plans to form and dispatch a quick response team to China to support the quarantine and boarding of chartered flights and provide healthcare services and humanitarian aid on site.

□ The government will provide humanitarian support to China, which is experiencing difficulties due to the rapid spread of Novel Coronavirus.

○ The government is considering the possibility of providing humanitarian support worth USD 5 million on a governmental level in response to the request made by the Chinese government.

<3> Operation of temporary living facilities for overseas Korean citizens returning from Wuhan and other related measures of local governments

□ Temporary living facilities for Korean citizens returning from Wuhan were designated by taking into consideration the safety of these citizens as well as local residents, accommodation capacity, and accessibility to facilities for isolated treatment.

○ One room will be allocated to each person, and leaving/entering the premises will be completely banned.
- Individual toiletries, bedding, etc., will be provided to ensure thorough sanitation, and all waste will be safely processed.
○ The health condition of each individual will be checked by healthcare staff twice a day on a daily basis. If any signs of illness are detected while staying at the facility, the patient will be instantly transferred to a government-designated healthcare institution for treatment.

□ The pan-governmental support team consisting of relevant ministries will strictly control the temporary living facilities and ensure the safety and health of local residents.

<4> Economic impact of and response to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus

□ The government will take all-out measures and mobilize all policy functions to ensure the health and safety of Korean citizens and minimize the economic impact until concerns over Novel Coronavirus infection are brought to an end.

□ The government will make its best efforts to closely review the possible impact of the outbreak of the virus on our economy (especially our real economy) and minimize its adverse impact.

ㅇ The possible impact of the virus will be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed based on different scenarios by referring to the past experiences of dealing with SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2015, and necessary measures will be designed and implemented accordingly.

□ Related budgeting will also be carried out meticulously in order to ensure preemptive epidemic prevention for Novel Coronavirus in a timely manner.

ㅇ First of all, the epidemic prevention budget of KRW 20.8 billion, including KRW 6.7 billion for the establishment and operation of an epidemic prevention response system, KRW 5.2 billion for quarantine and diagnosis expenses, and KRW 2.9 billion for isolated treatment expenses that have already been reflected in this year's budget compilation, will be readily executed to ensure preemptive epidemic prevention.
ㅇ If the abovementioned budget is found to be insufficient or additional funds are needed, reserve funds designated in advance for use (KRW 2 trillion) included in this year's budget compilation will be provided.

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