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South Korea city deserted after coronavirus 'super-spreads' through church

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South Korea city deserted after coronavirus 'super-spreads' through church

By Hyonhee Shin and Ryan Woo

 

2020-02-20T060357Z_1_LYNXMPEG1J0FJ_RTROPTP_4_CHINA-HEALTH-SOUTHKOREA.JPG

People wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus walk at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Heo Ran

 

SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) - The streets of South Korea's fourth-largest city were abandoned on Thursday, with residents holed up indoors after dozens of people caught the new coronavirus in what authorities described as a "super-spreading event" at a church.

 

The deserted shopping malls and cinemas of Daegu, a city of 2.5 million people, became one of the most striking images outside China of an outbreak that international authorities are trying stop from becoming a global pandemic.

 

New research suggesting the virus is more contagious than previously thought added to the alarm. And in China, where the virus has killed more than 2,100 people and infected nearly 75,000, officials changed their methodology for reporting infections, creating new doubt about data they have cited as evidence their strategy is working.

 

U.S. stock indexes fell about 1% on Thursday, dragged down by technology heavyweights, as investors fretted over the coronavirus' economic impact. U.S. manufacturers are scrambling for alternative sources as supply chains in China, the workshop of the world, dry up.

 

In South Korea, Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin told residents to stay indoors after 90 people who worshipped at the Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony showed symptoms of infection and dozens of new cases were confirmed.

 

The streets of South Korea's fourth-largest city were abandoned on Thursday, with residents holed up indoors after dozens of people caught the coronavirus in what the authorities described as a "super-spreading event" at a church. Emer McCarthy reports.

 

The church had been attended by a 61-year-old woman who tested positive, known as "Patient 31." South Korea's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention described the outbreak there as a "super-spreading event."

 

"We are in an unprecedented crisis," Kwon told reporters, adding that all members of the church would be tested. "We've asked them to stay at home isolated from their families."

 

Describing the abandoned streets, resident Kim Geun-woo, 28, told Reuters by telephone: "It's like someone dropped a bomb in the middle of the city. It looks like a zombie apocalypse."

 

South Korea now has 104 confirmed cases of the flu-like virus, and reported its first death.

 

In China, officials have been pointing to evidence that new cases are declining as proof they are succeeding in keeping the virus largely contained to Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, where the virus initially emerged.

 

"We are encouraged by this trend but this is no time for complacency," World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.

 

Some 25 other countries have reported 1,076 cases to the WHO, including five Iran, the latest affected, he said. As a result, Kuwait Airways has suspended flights to Iran.

 

CHINA'S CHANGING METHODOLOGY

Revisions to China's methodology for confirming cases have raised doubts about its data. Under the latest methodology, which excludes cases identified by chest X-rays, China reported fewer than 400 new cases over the past day, less than a quarter of the number it had been finding in recent days under the previous broader method.

 

Epidemiologists said there could be good reasons to adjust methodology to ensure best use of resources. No official tally was likely to record all cases.

 

"For every case we are aware of in China, there will be several more clinical cases by many factors," said Bharat Pankhania, of Britain's University of Exeter Medical School.

 

"It’s important that authorities do not interpret this as a slowing of the outbreak and let their guard down prematurely."

 

Only last week, a change in Chinese methodology created an overnight rise of nearly 15,000 new cases, reversing a trend of falling numbers.

 

China's Global Times newspaper reported 36 new cases at one Beijing hospital as of Thursday, a sharp increase from nine cases two weeks earlier. It said this had led "many to fear a potential explosion of infection numbers in the capital."

 

China has imposed severe controls in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, to halt the spread of the virus, and has taken urgent steps to keep the overall economy from crashing.

 

On Thursday, its central bank cut a borrowing rate, while the authorities extended an order for businesses in Wuhan to shut down until March 11. Schools in the city, which had been due to re-open on Friday, will also stay shut.

 

TWO CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS DIE

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday it was too early to give precise projections of economic growth in China and the world following the outbreak.

 

Japan, where the economy was already shrinking late last year, could be vulnerable. The yen fell sharply against the dollar on Thursday, as did the South Korean won.

 

Japan reported the deaths of two elderly passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship on Thursday, the first fatalities from aboard the ship where more than 630 cases account for the biggest cluster of infection outside China.

 

Japan has begun allowing passengers who test negative to leave and hundreds disembarked on Wednesday and Thursday. Japanese passengers were permitted to go home.

 

Japan, due to host the summer Olympics in July, had faced criticism over its strategy of quarantining people on board the ship.

 

Online site for coronavirus news - https://www.reuters.com/live-events/coronavirus-6-id2921484

 

Coronavirus spreads in China and beyond - https://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?navid=919104201

 

Graphic: Tracking the novel coronavirus - https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-MAP/0100B59S39E/index.html

 

Graphic: The new coronavirus - https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-GRAPHICS/0100B5CD3DP/index.html

 

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin in Seoul and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Additional reporting by Linda Sieg, Chang-Ran Kim, Akiko Okamoto, Ju-min Park and Daewong Kim in Tokyo, Sangmi Cha in Seoul, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, Keith Zhai and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Vientiane, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Kate Kelland in London; Writing by Peter Graff, Nick Macfie and Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Frances Kerry and Bill Berkrot)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-21

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Like the Pandemic movie. This stuff is scary.

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

The church had been attended by a 61-year-old woman who tested positive, known as "Patient 31." South Korea's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention described the outbreak there as a "super-spreading event."

Hmmm, was she tested before she attended the church, was told to stay home for 14 days as a precautionary measure (home quarantine) and then decided to put her faith in the oh mighty and attend a church service ?

 

The mind boggles, because the reporting is not so clear, as for home quarantine about to be implemented in Thailand after this coming Monday's meeting of the health officials at the top, i.e. if approved, they will be taking it to the next level finally, after it's too late, "realising" that the PM hasn't got it under control, as he stated.

 

The above said, home quarantine in Thailand, oh yeh, that's gonna work for sure.

Edited by 4MyEgo
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Travelling to Indonesia in June and was supposed to be in SK and USA in August. Very carefully taking note of these virus stories now.

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2 hours ago, Somtamnication said:

Like the Pandemic movie. This stuff is scary.

No, it is nothing like the Pandemic movie.... it is not killing most people who contract it. The death rate is similar or close to the regular flu virus.  Just like the flu, which kills around half a million people a year (does that number scare you?), this virus (which is a variety of flu) kills old people and people with health conditions.

 

Should we try and contain it, find a vaccine for it? Sure, but this kind of 'Oh my god, we are all going to die' scaremongering doesn't help anyone. 

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12 minutes ago, PremiumLane said:

No, it is nothing like the Pandemic movie.... it is not killing most people who contract it. The death rate is similar or close to the regular flu virus.  Just like the flu, which kills around half a million people a year (does that number scare you?), this virus (which is a variety of flu) kills old people and people with health conditions.

 

Should we try and contain it, find a vaccine for it? Sure, but this kind of 'Oh my god, we are all going to die' scaremongering doesn't help anyone. 

Maybe you won't die but there is already shortage of ibuprofen in Germany, companies are closing down due to lack of materials and India announced they have to scale down export of antibiotic. 

 

I'm also affected personally. All my lazada purchase from China have been canceled. I don't know yet how I will cope with that. 

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21 minutes ago, PremiumLane said:

No, it is nothing like the Pandemic movie.... it is not killing most people who contract it. The death rate is similar or close to the regular flu virus.  Just like the flu, which kills around half a million people a year (does that number scare you?), this virus (which is a variety of flu) kills old people and people with health conditions.

 

Should we try and contain it, find a vaccine for it? Sure, but this kind of 'Oh my god, we are all going to die' scaremongering doesn't help anyone. 

My god, you have no idea right? The death rate of seasonal flu is 0.1% vs. 2.5% for COVID19 (currently). Number is only expected to go up as its very likely that not all current infected will recover. Its also AT LEAST as contagious as seasonal flu.

 

Is this the end of the world? Nah. But ask you self what's more dangerous, denial like yours or taking proper measurements and making people aware of the risks.

Edited by DeeMak9
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2 hours ago, 4MyEgo said:

Hmmm, was she tested before she attended the church, was told to stay home for 14 days as a precautionary measure (home quarantine) and then decided to put her faith in the oh mighty and attend a church service ?

 

The mind boggles, because the reporting is not so clear, as for home quarantine about to be implemented in Thailand after this coming Monday's meeting of the health officials at the top, i.e. if approved, they will be taking it to the next level finally, after it's too late, "realising" that the PM hasn't got it under control, as he stated.

 

The above said, home quarantine in Thailand, oh yeh, that's gonna work for sure.

The idea of 'spread the word' seems quite ironic now.

 

 

Talking of 'home quarantine' in Thailand, TAT said: "the agency is about to launch a campaign to encourage Thai families to visit Pattaya during the upcoming school break."

https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/1149353-pattaya-bets-tourism-industry-on-thai-families-beach-sports/

 

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I wonder how many went to the church to pray to their sky god to spare them from the virus and just let the sinners catch it.

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8 hours ago, overherebc said:

I wonder how many went to the church to pray to their sky god to spare them from the virus and just let the sinners catch it.

Probably most of them prayed that they would not catch it.

 

Probably none of them prayed that anyone else (sinners or not sinners) would catch it.

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south korea 105 cases but thailand with tons of chinese tourists just mid 30's cases

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41 minutes ago, JAG said:

Probably most of them prayed that they would not catch it.

 

Probably none of them prayed that anyone else (sinners or not sinners) would catch it.

Nah they just didn't happen to pray the "right" god out of all the religions. 

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On ‎2‎/‎21‎/‎2020 at 9:19 AM, DeeMak9 said:

My god, you have no idea right? The death rate of seasonal flu is 0.1% vs. 2.5% for COVID19 (currently). Number is only expected to go up as its very likely that not all current infected will recover. Its also AT LEAST as contagious as seasonal flu.

 

Is this the end of the world? Nah. But ask you self what's more dangerous, denial like yours or taking proper measurements and making people aware of the risks.

I didn't deny anything - I said it should be dealt with without the hysteria, try reading what I said. 

 

Hysteria, as in saying it is like the Pandemic Movie doesn't help anyone. As another poster said, drugs are running out in Germany, things are not being sent from China.... that is cos of hysteria and hyperbole not cos of actual measures to combat the virus

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I teach some Korean students online.  They are all 'stuck' inside for days now, no-one wants to risk going outside.....

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