S. Koreans on alert over possible rise in coronavirus cases after 2020 general election

April 17, 2020

Following South Korea’s general election this past week – the world’s first nationwide election held during the COVID-19 pandemic – health authorities are concerned that new infection clusters could pop up and again contribute to the death toll. This round of polls reportedly had a 66% voter turnout, the highest in almost three decades, with over 11,000 voters who have been under two-week self-quarantine casting their votes as well, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.

The authorities are mindful of possible new cases following the nationwide election: “Considering the incubation period of the virus, we need to wait at least one or two weeks to see whether the government’s quarantine measures on the voting day were effective,” Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said recently.

South Korea’s number of daily new coronavirus cases have hovered below 30 for the fourth straight day after an initially alarming period of infections – The National Election Commission allowed those who had been ordered to isolate themselves between April 1 and 14 and shown no symptoms of the virus, including some who returned home from overseas amid the global coronavirus pandemic, to vote at polling stations after regular voting ended at 6 p.m.The government enforced tightened quarantine measures at polling stations and implored voters to sanitise their hands and wear face masks and plastic gloves.

Meanwhile, six self-isolators were found to have broken the strict voting guidelines – three will hence be reported to the police in line with the government’s zero tolerance for rule violators, who could be jailed for up to one year or fined up to 10 million won (US$8,200).

The self-isolators were to report their every movement to health authorities through a smartphone application and immediately return to where they were self-isolating after voting. However, the authorities found that one instead visited a billiard room and a PC room; another visited a supermarket and a friend’s home; and the third visited a smartphone store.

“We will not report two people to the police as their violations were minor; we are still investigating whether to report one more case the police,” a government official said.


Category: Features, Health alert

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