South Korea testing at hospitals, nursing homes

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — South Korea yesterday began testing tens of thousands of employees of hospitals and nursing homes to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks at live-in facilities. Fifteen of the 76 latest cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency were from the southern port city of Busan, where more than 70 infections have been linked to a hospital for the elderly.

Health workers have been scrambling to track infections in the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people, as the virus spreads in several places, including hospitals, schools and workplaces.

They will start a process to test 130,000 workers at hospitals, nursing homes and senior centres in the greater capital area.

Officials will also test 30,000 patients who have visited and used these facilities, but will leave out hospitalised patients, who already receive tests when they are admitted.

Officials plan to complete the tests within October and could possibly expand the screening to other regions if needed.

People on a street in the Hongdae district of Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AFP