South Korea launches ‘drive-thru’ virus testing facilities as demand soars

UNTV News   •   February 28, 2020   •   652

A growing number of local governments in South Korea are launching roadside testing facilities this week, as demand soars for checks and increasing waiting times raise the risk of infection.

South Korea reported 505 new cases on Thursday (February 27), marking its largest daily jump since the first patient was confirmed on January 20, and taking the national tally to 1,766, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The temporary testing facility in Goyang, about 16 km northwest of capital Seoul, was opened on Wednesday (February 26) at a public parking lot as more than 100 residents seek to get tested every day, the city said in a statement.

Goyang has not been badly hit so far, with just four patients, but sudden and rapid surges in infections in recent days have stoked fears of nationwide transmission.

Other cities, including Daegu, Incheon, and Sejong, have launched their own drive-thru testing clinics, while others plan to introduce one in the near future. (Channel A via Reuters Connect)

(Production: Minwoo Park, Louisa Naks)

DOH warns public on possible airborne transmission of COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 10, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public on the possible airborne transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Despite the lack of further studies, the Health Department said they are not dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 might spread in the air. They reminded the public to always adhere to the health and safety protocols.

Patuloy po tayong natututo tungkol sa SARS-CoV-2 at COVID-19. Kabilang na nga po dito ang mode of transmission o paraan ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 (We are continuously learning about SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19. This includes the mode of transmission of COVID-19). It’s an evolving science and new evidence continues to roll out,” according to DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

More than 200 scientists urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge the possibility of airborne transmission. According to a study, “viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”

The WHO previously dismissed the possibility of airborne transmission but said they will release a scientific brief summary regarding the collected data on the modes of transmission of COVID-19

“This is a respiratory pathogen and so it is important that what we know is it fits into the guidance that we have, which is why a comprehensive package of interventions is required to be able to stop transmission,” according to WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19 Pandemic Maria Van Kerkhove.

Meanwhile, the DOH said they will also review and verify the evidence and studies about COVID-19 in order to provide appropriate information and advisories to the public.AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Quezon City Hall of Justice closed after 4 personnel contract COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Hall of Justice building and its annex will be temporarily shut down after four of its court officers and employees tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the city government announced on Friday.

The city government said Mayor Joy Belmonte ordered the closure of the buildings for seven days of until the city’s Epidemiological and Disease Surveillance Unit (QC-ESU) has completed the appropriate testing and containment measures.

In her letter to Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert and Metropolitan Trial Court Executive Judge Ace Alagar, Belmonte explained that her decision to temporarily shut down the Hall of Justice is to enforce measures during epidemic or outbreak to prevent spread of disease.

QC-ESU head Dr. Rolly Cruz said they will conduct exhaustive contact tracing of all those who were in close contact with the court officers and employees who were found positive and perform follow-up testing as necessary.

Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases shall be placed on home quarantine or isolation in a quarantine facility as feasible under the circumstances, he added.

Meanwhile, the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) started the thorough surface disinfection and misting of the whole City Hall complex.

The agency said the disinfection began on Thursday and will last until Sunday.

Prominent mayor of S.Korea’s capital found dead amid allegation of impropriety

UNTV News   •   July 10, 2020

One of South Korea’s most prominent elected officials, the longtime mayor of its capital, was found dead, police said on Friday (July 10), after he was reported missing by his daughter amid a criminal probe of alleged impropriety.

After a search involving hundreds of police, Mayor Park Won-soon’s body was found at Mt Bugak in northern Seoul around midnight, near where his phone signal had last been detected, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said.

It did not give a cause of death. There was no sign of foul play although a detailed investigation would be needed, police official Choi Ik-soo told reporters at a televised briefing at the scene.

The Yonhap news agency said a former secretary of Park had filed a complaint on Wednesday over alleged incidents of sexual harassment.

Choi said an investigation was under way after a criminal complaint had been lodged against Park, without elaborating.

Park’s daughter reported him missing at 5:17 p.m. (0817 GMT) and said his phone was off and that he had left a message “like a will,” Yonhap reported. (Reuters)

(Production: Kim Hong-Ji, Hyunyoung Yi, Minwoo Park)

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