Many experts said last week that the spread of coronavirus in Korea was still far away from the peak of the epidemic and that the number of infections will continue to increase.
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” Korea is well past the point where the government or the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) can control the epidemic on its own. It takes a society-wide action. Safety standards are set by the health authorities, “said Kim Dong Hyun, chairman of the Epidemiology Society, and a preventive medicine specialist at Hallym University School of Medicine.
Meanwhile, Peck Kyong Ran, an infectious disease expert at Samsung Medical Center, leader of the Korean Infectious Diseases Association, is concerned that the number of infections without detection of epidemiological links is rising at an alarming rate. . This shows that people are at risk of getting the disease even if they do not go to high risk areas or contact with suspected people.
“Requiring people to cancel any unnecessary meetings or gatherings is an urgent issue. If possible, stay at home, at least until infection rates begin to decline,” Ms. Peck said.
Strategic adjustment is needed
in the month since South Korea detected the first person to be positive for corona virus, the response was to isolate the infected person in negative pressure isolation rooms, preventing the spread of germs through the system. gas. Government officials also sought links to patients.
However, experts say this response model is no longer feasible as the number of infections has risen sharply across the country in recent days. The total number of infections in South Korea as of February 24 reached 763. The country also recorded at least 7 deaths from disease. For the first time in a decade, South Korea has raised disease warning levels to the highest level.
“It is necessary to adjust the strategy from controlling to reducing damage because at this stage, community transmission is inevitable,” said Choi Won Seok, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Korea Medical School. .
Mr. Choi explained the “mitigation” strategy aimed at slowing down the rate of development of disease outbreaks. From there, the government and health workers can speed up the response.
Paik Jin Hui, deputy director of the Emergency Medical Center at Inha University Hospital, said medical facilities in South Korea were facing problems of personnel and resource shortages.
“The new outbreak has only occurred for a month. But hospitals are running out of space to accept patients with symptoms of respiratory illness or high fever. These people need to be isolated from other patients,” Paik said. will.
“Doctors express concern that patients with other health issues may not be concerned because medical resources are being focused on responding to the pandemic,” he said.
“Four emergency centers have closed in Daegu. Patients are forced to move further to find hospitals, opening the risk of spreading the virus to others and not receiving immediate medical assistance as they are currently.” need, “Paik said.
People need a sense of self-isolation
according to Song Joon Young, an infectious disease specialist at Korea University Hospital in Guro, southwest of Seoul, all medical facilities across the country are not getting enough beds for patients. People with mild symptoms may need to isolate themselves at home.
“This is why non-specialized precautions like washing hands and wearing masks are so important. If the health care system is overloaded and collapses, we cannot do anything more,” Song warned. .
“With the crisis we are facing, it is impossible to accept personal behaviors that deviate from the recommended standards,” said Ki Moran, chairman of the Emergency Response Committee of the Korea Preventive Medical Association, press. strong.
She urged anyone with flu-like symptoms to limit their exposure to the road, especially those over 65 and people who had other health problems. Medical associations in South Korea have asked the government to allow students not to go to school and workers to take a leave if they develop symptoms, whether severe or mild.
Medical associations also recommend that people keep hygiene, wash their hands, cover their coughs; disinfect objects and surfaces they come into contact with; keep the house well ventilated; restricting meeting or gathering large people; Elderly people and those with weak immune systems need to limit going out.
“We are just witnessing the beginning of a nationwide infection. At least these measures can help us minimize the risk,” Mr. Kim emphasized. More effective action from the government.
“In the early stages of the disease when the symptoms are not obvious, but also the most contagious moment, you may not even realize you have been infected, how can you recognize others who have the disease? “, Mr. Kim Dong Hyun warned.
“Staying hygienic and limiting outside exposure is the key,” he said.
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