Many wait for hospital beds in S. Korea as coronavirus cases surge
516 new cases reported as total number in South Korea hits 5,300
SEOUL : South Korea reported 516 new coronavirus cases yesterday as thousands of sick people waited for hospital beds in Daegu, the city at the centre of the worst outbreak outside mainland China.
The new cases bring South Korea's tally to over 5,300, with at least 32 deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
Most cases were in and around Daegu, the country's fourth-largest city, where the flu-like virus has spread rapidly through members of a fringe Christian group.
Hospitals in South Korea's hardest hit areas were scrambling to accommodate the surge in new patients.
In Daegu, 2,300 people were waiting to be admitted to hospitals and temporary medical facilities, Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said.
A 100-bed military hospital that had been handling many of the most serious cases was due to have 200 additional beds available by today, he added.
Meanwhile, China reported another drop in new coronavirus cases yesterday as its attention turns to controlling the risk of infection from abroad, as clusters of the disease that originated in China appear around the world.
Authorities have asked overseas Chinese to reconsider their travel plans, while cities across the country set up quarantine rules for those entering from high-risk places.
Mainland China had 119 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, the National Health Commission said, down from 125 the previous day, in a broad trend that has seen numbers of new cases fall from the middle of February.
The total number of cases on the mainland has now reached more than 80,200. The number of deaths rose by 38 to bring the total toll for mainland China to nearly 3,000 by March 3.
All but one new death occurred in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
But China on Tuesday reported an increase in cases of the coronavirus coming from abroad.
There have been 13 confirmed cases of the virus being imported to the mainland - all in Chinese nationals returning from overseas.
More than 90,000 people have been infected worldwide and around 3,200 have died.
Eight Chinese nationals who worked in the same restaurant in Italy's northern Lombardy region have tested positive for the virus in eastern Zhejiang province, according to the local government.
They flew home to China from Italy last week.
There have also been four confirmed cases of infections originating in Iran - two in Beijing and two in the northern Ningxia region - and one case in the southern city of Shenzhen in a person who had travelled from Britain via Hong Kong.
China has been implementing a series of measures to prevent its containment efforts being undone by cases brought into the country.
Those arriving in the capital from virus-hit countries - including South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan - must self-quarantine for 14 days, the deputy secretary of Beijing's government said at a press briefing on Tuesday.- REUTERS, AFP