International News

South Korea launches mass coronavirus testing and boosts containment methods

As the number of global coronavirus cases increased above 80,000, countries that are experiencing the worst of the virus have implemented new strategies to contain the fast-spreading outbreak.

In South Korea, infections have risen again, taking the overall total of cases to 977. An emergency budget and a crackdown on the mass acquisition of face masks have been put in place.

The country has applied “maximum measures” to contain the coronavirus, announcing that 200,000 members of a secretive church will be tested as they are believed to be the source of the pandemic. The Seoul government will focus on the Shincheonji Church of Jesus after receiving all member´s names from the founder.

The decision was made as financial markets saw more heavy losses across Asia Pacific on Tuesday amid worries over the coronavirus spreading to areas far wider than China, causing disruption specifically in countries like South Korea: the world´s 12th biggest economy.

On Tuesday, South Korea reported 60 new cases, with 16 of them in the south-eastern city of Daegu – where the Shincheonji Church is located – and 33 from the nearby North Gyeongsang province, Korea´s centre for disease control.

Officials believe that around 60 per cent of those infected within the country are linked to the church, with one 61-year old woman though to be responsible for spreading the virus to other members.

The prime minister´s office released a statement that said testing would begin “as soon as possible”.

The statement continued: “We have constantly requested the list based on our assessment that it is essential to test all of the church members in order to contain the spread of the virus and relieve public anxiety”.