South Korea reported its highest daily spike in new coronavirus cases in about a month-and-a-half Wednesday — an outbreak linked to a now-closed facility run by one of the country’s largest e-commerce companies, officials reported.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 40 new cases of the deadly bug as of midnight Tuesday — the highest daily number in 49 days — bringing the total tally to 11,265. A day earlier, only 19 new cases were reported.
At least 36 of the country’s cases have been linked to a logistics center operated by SoftBank-backed e-commerce firm Coupang Corp in Bucheon, west of Seoul, officials said. It’s unclear how many of those cases have been reported in the past 24 hours.
The center was closed Monday and is undergoing the strongest disinfection measures recommended by authorities. At least 3,600 people at the facility are being tested.
Coupang’s business has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as orders surged for groceries and other products.
The logistics center, which opened in early March, is in charge of deliveries to western Seoul, according to a spokeswoman.
The center’s first coronavirus case, reported Saturday, is suspected to be connected to an outbreak at a Seoul nightclub earlier this month.
Health officials fear that the center could see even more cases.
“We are very nervous about community infections and we are keeping a close eye on the situation,” vice health minister Kim Kang-lip said at a briefing, adding that an investigation is underway, amid suspicions that the center did not comply with “basic” quarantine guidelines.
But a Coupang spokeswoman insisted the center underwent daily disinfection and all workers wore masks and gloves, and had their temperatures checked.
Meanwhile, more than 2 million South Korean children returned to classrooms Wednesday, the beginning of a phased reopening of schools.
With Post wires
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