- 15 new confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in South Korea.
- The nation’s Health Minister warned of the second peak of the outbreak is coming.
- Short-term sentiment around the virus remains gloomy among experts.
South Korea and Japan are vulnerable to a large-scale coronavirus outbreak as more than a dozen confirmed cases of the virus were reported overnight.
Daegu, a major city in South Korea, confirmed 15 individuals have officially been diagnosed with coronavirus, and an entire cruise ship in Japan is nearing the completion of a two-week quarantine.
Why has Japan and South Korea seen many coronavirus cases?
According to South Korea’s national television network SBS, around 10,000 individuals from Wuhan, China traveled to both Japan and South Korea within a 23-day span in January of this year.
Before the coronavirus outbreak was publicized, both Japan and South Korea lacked appropriate precautions and a system in place to prevent coronavirus from spreading.
Over time, it became known that coronavirus is highly contagious, considered to be a serious airborne disease.
In recent weeks, the government of South Korea has been heavily criticized for its inaction in the early days of the outbreak.
Unlike other countries like Russia that reacted quickly to close their borders to minimize the risk imposed by the coronavirus, South Korean officials stalled on the decision to implement travel restrictions.
Consequently, over time, reports confirmed that several individuals from Wuhan confirmed to have coronavirus was traveling in Seoul for many days before being diagnosed, and then quarantined.
On January 27, for instance, local mainstream publication Kookmin reported that one patient with a confirmed case of coronavirus walked around Seoul for at least five days before being transferred to a nearby hospital.
The individual visited various restaurants, cafes, plastic surgery centers, convenience stores, and hotels before being placed under quarantine.
The lack of a strong response from the government of South Korea when coronavirus was first reported likely caused the outbreak to intensify in South Korea.
Health official gloomily warns of the ‘second peak’
At the National Assembly, Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo said that the second peak of the coronavirus outbreak is coming.
Addressing the National Assembly, he stated:
The seeming lull in new confirmed cases last week can be seen as a transition period leading to a ‘second peak’ stage.
The government of South Korea has been reluctant towards releasing such a strong statement regarding coronavirus to refrain from raising fear among the community.
The latest warning of the nation’s Health Minister shows the government believes the worst is yet to come, which goes in line with studies that have shown this may be merely the tip of the iceberg.
Several studies from the U.K., Australia, and Hong Kong have all predicted confirmed cases of coronavirus to surpass 100,000 in the upcoming months, anticipating May as the peak.
Eventually, as a variety of unorthodox cures get tested and more coronavirus patients recover, experts anticipate that more individuals can recover from the virus in the medium-term.
In the short-term, however, the sentiment around the recovery from coronavirus remains gloomy.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.