‘Prolonged war’: South Korea reports spike in coronavirus cases

Even the country recognised as developing the gold standard for managing the coronavirus pandemic can have new cases, emphasising the size of the task faced by the UK in easing lockdown measures. The Prime Minister will announce a strategic “roadmap” for the lifting of lockdown @ 7.00 pm this evening.

South Korea reported 34 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily number in a month, as President Moon Jae-in outlined an ambitious vision for the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

People wearing face masks watch a television news broadcast showing a speech of South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a railway station in Seoul on May 10, 2020 [Jung Yeon-je/ AFP]

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said of the new cases 26 were domestically transmitted infections and eight involved travellers from overseas. 

The outbreak came just as South Korea eased some social distancing restrictions and sought to fully reopen schools and businesses in line with a transition from an intensive social distancing campaign to what it calls “distancing in daily life”.

In a televised speech, Moon said citizens must neither panic nor let down their guard, saying: “The right quarantine and medical systems combined with experience to respond quickly to any unexpected infection clusters that might occur.”

But he warned of a second wave of the epidemic later this year, saying the recent cluster underscored the risks that the virus, which causes COVID-19, can spread widely again at any time.

“It’s not over until it’s over. While keeping enhanced alertness till the end, we must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention,” he said in the address marking the third anniversary of his inauguration. “We are in a prolonged war.”

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