Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea, has reportedly called for expanded COVID-19 testing along with more in-depth contact tracing as the nation is struggling to control its newest and biggest wave of coronavirus infections.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency has reported nearly 615 novel cases of coronavirus, completing a month of triple-digit daily surges that have led to about 8,311 confirmed patients in quarantine, the most seen ever.
The increasing number of cases has shocked the vaunted pandemic fighting system of the country, which successfully utilized invasive testing, tracing, as well as quarantines for avoiding lockdowns, blunt earlier waves, and effectively keep infections at less than 50 per day during summer months.
Blue House spokesman Chung Man-ho stated that the President has ordered the government to prepare every available resource for tracking the infection as well as to expand testing by deploying more people from the public services and the military.
Chung further added that the President ordered that the sites should run for longer hours in order to let working population to get themselves tested at their convenience and to set-up a greater number of drive-through testing facilities.
According to KDCA, the positive rate for the newest batch of tests was nearly 4.2%, in comparison to the years’ average of about 1.2%.
Na Seong-woong, deputy director, KDCA, stated that beginning from next week, testing centers would start using a test kit specifically designed to collect samples from the subject’s saliva easily, hopefully decreasing some of the trouble they had faced while trying to gather usable samples.
Na added further that the centers would also start utilizing antigen tests, that are meant for detecting certain proteins from the virus, as a temporary solution.
Na also forecasted that the daily number of COVID-19 cases would stick between 550-750 for this week, possibly increasing to about 900 per day by the upcoming week.