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Press Release

(3.19.) Regular Briefing of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on COVID-19

  • Date : 2020-03-19
  • Hit : 2496

Regular Briefing of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on COVID-19

- ▲Current situation of and measures for Hansarang Convalescent Hospital in Daegu, and ▲current status and action plan regarding supply and demand of masks, etc. -

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held a meeting presided over by Head Chung Sekyun (Prime Minister) along with the central government and 17 cities and provinces to discuss ▲the current situation of and measures for Hansarang Convalescent Hospital in Daegu, and ▲the current status and action plan regarding supply and demand of masks at a video conference room located on the 1st floor of Government Complex Seoul.

□ Head Chung said, at the meeting, risk factors have increasingly grown in foreign countries, directing each ministry to thoroughly manage new arrivals from abroad, and review additional measures, if needed, to block risk factors derived from entry to Korea from abroad.


1. Current situation of and measures for Hansarang Convalescent Hospital in Daegu


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters was reported on and reviewed the current situation of and measures for Hansarang Convalescent Hospital by Daegu Metropolitan City.

○ Daegu briefed mainly on the cluster infection, following measures, and actions taken to prevent infection in social welfare facilities and nursing hospitals, and provided suggestions.

□ Head Chung noted that new cases continue to be confirmed in group facilities for the vulnerable such as nursing hospitals, and requested not only Daegu and Gyeongbuk but other regions including the capital area to put best efforts into preemptively controlling infection towards stabilization.


2. Performing diagnostic tests on (selected) specimens in nursing hospitals in Daegu, Gyeongbuk


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters announced that it is performing diagnostic tests for COVID-19 targeting workers, caregivers, and inpatients in all nursing hospitals located in Daegu and Gyeongbuk following on-site investigation conducted into all nursing hospitals.

○ From March 13, full investigation has been carried out into all workers and patients in every nursing hospital in Daegu while specimens were selected for diagnostic tests in Gyeongbuk, which plans to expand those subject to tests, if required.

□ The Headquarters conducted investigation two times into all nursing hospitals nationwide (Feb. 17~18, Mar. 9~13), and has bolstered infection control by providing detailed guidelines for hospitals, staff, and patients.

○ All nursing hospitals submit self-checklist every week to the authorities, which check if they abide by requirements including checking fever/cough of workers therein, and restriction of visitors.

○ Also, 457 patients hospitalized in nursing hospitals with pneumonia of unidentified cause had diagnostic tests (Mar. 9~13) for COVID-19 with the risk of infection, and all of the patients tested (277 persons*) were negative.

* Those who didn’t undergo test (180 persons): the deceased (24), discharged/ referral (8), treatment completed (38), doctor’s opinion of no need to test (causes identified such as bacterial/aspiration pneumonia, 110 persons)
□ After the recent diagnostic tests performed in nursing hospitals, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters plans to block a cluster infection in nursing hospitals in advance and further strengthen protection of vulnerable facilities.


3. Expanding the Special Entry Procedure to all entrants


□ The government started to carry out the Special Entry Procedure for all entrants to Korea from 00:00, March 19.

○ The government has increasingly expanded target countries subject to the Special Entry Procedure depending on the level of COVID-19 outbreak risk. The procedure, however, is now expanded to all entrants as community-based spread is taking place all over the world and the number of arrivals to Korea testing positive for the virus or showing symptoms has been increasing, recently*.

* (Based on the date of entry) (Mar. 13) 1 case, (Mar. 14) 3 cases, (Mar. 15) 2 cases, (Mar. 16) 1 case, (Mar. 17) 9 cases

○ Starting from a flight (25 passengers) from Beijing to Incheon at 1 a.m. 6,239 passengers on 71 flights are expected to enter Korea under the Special Entry Procedure today (the 1st day the procedure was expanded to all inbound travelers).

□ With the expansion of the procedure, the government additionally mobilized 64 medical and administrative workers including quarantine officers and medical officers for a total of 117 staff members placed to support quarantine.
○ The Motorboat Racing Training Center (housing up to 70 persons) of Korea Sports Promotion Foundation located in Yeongjong-do was additionally designated as a temporary isolation facility in addition to the existing temporary facility of Incheon Airport National Quarantine Station (housing up to 50 persons). Preparation* for assigning medical workforce and transferring those with symptoms was completed.

* Assignment completed: placing 3 medical workers and 18 staff members for administrative support, and mobilizing 12 ambulance staff members (119 ambulance) and 4 vehicles to transport those with symptoms and confirmed cases

○ To minimize waiting time of entrants, the phone number verification system was adopted to Self-Diagnosis Mobile App, and it is available in multiple languages: Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, French, and etc.

□ To prevent risk factors from being imported from foreign countries, the government has closely monitored the spread of COVID-19 in foreign counties, and plans to review measures to introduce more proactive surveillance system.

□ The authorities strongly urged people arriving from Europe and other countries to stick to practice good personal hygiene and refrain from moving around.

○ In the event of symptoms including cough or fever, it was requested to contact to the call center (1339) or health centers, and visit screening clinics for immediate testing.

4. Plans for quarantine and medical support for overseas Koreans arriving from Iran


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters discussed measures to assist overseas Koreans in Iran to return to home country, following infection control measures and medical support in consideration of the situation in Iran where the confirmed COVID-19 cases have soared.

○ The temporary flight of Korea (Asiana Airlines, B777) departed from Incheon Airport on March 17 and arrived at Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai on March 18. The flight carrying a total of 80 South Koreans residing in Iran, their family members, and staff is expected to arrive at Incheon International Airport at 16:30.

- A rapid response team was dispatched to the temporary flight consisting of medical workers (1 doctor, 1 nurse, 2 quarantine officers) and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overseas Koreans on board flew from Tehran Airport to Dubai using Iranian airlines to take the temporary flight.

□ ▲Before boarding, the overseas Koreans and their family members had their symptoms checked by Korean quarantine officers through the Health Questionnaire, and ▲they will go through special quarantine at a separate gate in the airport upon entry to Korea.

○ Those having cough, respiratory or other symptoms before taking the temporary flight were separated from others on the plane, and will be classified into groups with symptoms if their symptoms, such as fever or cough, are confirmed during the quarantine procedure after arrival.

○ In particular, all passengers on the temporary flight will be guided to install Self-Diagnosis Mobile App in a similar way applied to those subject to the Special Entry Procedure.

□ Those with symptoms will be immediately transported to the Central Quarantine Medical Support Center of Incheon Airport National Quarantine Station for diagnostic test, and those tested positive transferred to the designated medical institutions.

○ Meanwhile, those identified as asymptomatic during the quarantine procedure will be transported to KOICA training center in Seongnam, undergo diagnostic tests for COVID-19, and wait therein until the test results come out.

□ Medical workforce will be mobilized and disinfection conducted in facilities to control infection and provide medical support for overseas Koreans from Iran. Personal protective supplies including masks will be given to them and supporting staff.

○ Based on the results of the diagnostic tests, those tested positive plan to be transferred to the designated medical institutions and those tested negative plan to go into self-quarantine in their homes for 14 consecutive days.

□ The Center Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters announced that it will make best efforts to control infection and secure safety of overseas Koreans to arrive today, and communities.

○ It was also requested to comply with the “reporting guideline on COVID-19” to make sure human rights and privacy of such Koreans and their family members are not violated while they are safely transported.


5. Current status and action plan regarding supply and demand of masks


※ Refer to a separate briefing for this information. In case of any query, contact to the following information:

Affiliation

Division

Contact Information

Ministry of Economy and Finance

Economic Policy Division

044-215-2710, 2712

Price Policy Division

044-215-2770, 2771

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

Bio-Convergence Industry Division

044-203-4390, 4391

Public Procurement Service

Procurement Planning Division

042-724-7210, 7265

Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

Customer Risk Prevention Policy Division

043-719-1711, 1722

※ All Koreans faced with issues regarding exorbitant prices of or hoarding masks and hand sanitizers are strongly advised to actively report to the authorities through the reporting center (02-2640-5057/5080/5087), customer call center (1372), and MFDS website (www.mfds.go.kr).

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