Gyeonggi clusters linked to factory workers
Health authorities in Dongducheon are testing the city’s nearly 4,000 foreign residents after clusters of infections broke out among foreigner communities at factories in Yangju and other cities in Gyeonggi last month.
A total of 509 residents of Dongducheon were tested Sunday, among which 84 foreign residents and four Korean residents tested positive as of Monday.
Many of the foreigners who tested positive didn’t show symptoms, according to the Dongducheon city government. Many of them also didn’t work inside the city — their job locations were scattered throughout the Gyeonggi region, including Yangju, Pocheon, Namyangju and Incheon.
“Apart from the fact that we have had many foreigners who tested positive recently, we haven’t yet been able to determine where exactly the clusters are emerging from,” an official of the city government told Yonhap News on Tuesday. “We have yet to determine all the workplaces of the infected foreign workers.”
As a preventive measure, the Dongducheon city government and its education offices asked all elementary, middle and high schools in the city to hold classes virtually through Wednesday.
Schools opened Tuesday for the start of the new semester. Kindergartners, first and second graders in elementary school and high school seniors will be able to hold in-person in classrooms every day, contingent on the government’s five-tier social distancing restrictions staying at Level 2 or lower.
In another massive round of tests involving factory workers in Gyeonggi, which included around 3,200 Korean and foreigner workers in Namyangju, health authorities found just four infections as of Tuesday. The testing was launched after over 100 foreign workers at a plastic factory in the city tested positive last month.
Korea recorded an additional 344 Covid-19 cases Monday, marking the fourth day in a row that the cases were in the 300s. Of the new cases, 25 were imported. Of the local cases, 120 were based in Seoul and 111 in Gyeonggi.
The country kicked off its vaccination program Friday, starting with inoculations of patients and health workers under the age of 65 at nursing homes, convalescent hospitals and other high-risk facilities.
President Moon Jae-in in a cabinet meeting Tuesday said the government will vouch for safe administration of all Covid-19 vaccines in Korea, asking citizens and media to refrain from spreading fake news about vaccinations and their side effects.
“If the people trust in the government and actively participate in the vaccination programs in an orderly manner, Korea will be able to become a model country in vaccination,” Moon said. “In particular, the government promises to take responsibility for the safety of any and all vaccines [administrated in the nation].”
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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