After recovering from COVID-19, fifty-one people have tested positive for the disease again in South Korea. However, health authorities said on Monday the results could have been on account of the reactivation of the coronavirus.
According to reports from Yonhap News Agency, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said that individuals from Daegu and the neighbouring North Gyeongsang province — the epicenters of the outbreak in South Korea — tested positive for the disease following their release from quarantine.
High likeliness of reactivation
KCDC Director-General Jeong Eun-kyeong said the virus was highly likely to have been reactivated, instead of the people being reinfected, as they tested positive again in a relatively short time after being released from quarantine.
The health authorities said a team of investigators has been sent to Daegu to conduct an epidemiological investigation into the cases. Meanwhile, Kim Tae-kyung, an infectious disease expert at Soonchunhyang University Hospital, said: "Patients who retested positive are people in which the virus was reactivated or who relapsed." A COVID-19 patient is deemed fully recovered after showing negative results for two tests performed with a 24-hour interval.
Lowest daily increase
Meanwhile, South Korea reported less than 50 cases of the coronavirus on Monday. It is the lowest since the peak on 29 February. As of now, the country has reported 10,284 cases and 186 deaths.
The country has been largely successful in keeping its numbers down. However, smaller outbreaks in nursing homes, hospitals, and churches continue to emerge. Infections contracted by travellers are also another source of infection. This has prompted the government to extend a rigorous social distancing campaign — that was set to end on Monday — by another two weeks.
(With inputs from agencies)