In a new danger to Israel, about 30 South Koreans who recently made a pilgrimage to Israel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, after their return. They were Catholic pilgrims from North Gyeongsang Province and they visited Israel between Feb. 8 and 16.
The growing coronavirus scare has prompted the Korean Air to suspend all domestic flights to Daegu until March 28 amid COVID-19 outbreak.
While 12 of the pilgrims were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, 18 had been confirmed positive for the virus and quarantined last week, said South Korean health officials. Of the 30 infected pilgrims, 20 belong to Euiseong County, North Gyeongsang Province, leaving aside the tour guide who is from Seoul and infected.
Secondary infection cases?
Authorities suspect that the new cases are of secondary infections as they exposed themselves in public places in Israel during the pilgrimage tour. Leaving aside the core 30 in the group, 170 have been identified so far for coming in direct contact with the infected patients.
The authorities said they are watching out for the return of another group of pilgrims later on Monday, who include 19 residents from Andong in North Gyeongsang Province and been on tour since Feb. 13. Authorities are planning to put all the pilgrims into quarantine once they arrive in South Korea.
Meanwhile, Israel has barred many Koreans from entering the country without prior notice. After Wuhan epicentre, South Korea has reported 763 coronavirus cases, and seven deaths.