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Coronavirus —

South Korean authorities said they are already undergoing a second wave of COVID-19 infections due to the continued appearance of outbreaks

South Korea reported the first case of contagion coronavirus produced among students at one school, after the country began reopening schools in stages in May.

Two fifth-grade students primary (between 10 and 11 years old) in a high school Daejeon (130 kilometers south of Seoul) tested positive for the virus Tuesday.

Both had been in direct contact with another student who tested positive on Monday and whose infection originates from an outbreak linked to a door-to-door sales company in Daejeon that totals more than 50 infected.

This is the first time that the Asian country detects the virus transmission in the classrooms.

The authorities have tested the 25 students who coincided in the classroom with the infected student between June 22 and 24 and has put them in quarantine.

Even if South Korea, which did not resort to confinement and did not close borders, is one of the countries that has best managed the pandemic thanks to its contact tracking, the authorities have assured that the country is already facing a second wave of infections due to the continuous appearance of new outbreaks.

These new sprouts are mainly linked to churches or temples, door-to-door sales companies or work centers.

Just today, the Korean Center for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 51 new infections of COVID-19, of which 35 are of local transmission.

Of those 35, 20 correspond to the region around Seoul, which in June absorbed approximately 90 percent of new cases.

In turn, 12 infections were reported in Gwangju (southwest of the country), apparently linked to an outbreak in a Buddhist temple.

In total, the Asian country has 12,850 infected with coronavirus, although only 955 (7.4 percent of the total) are active cases. In South Korea, 282 people have died from the virus, leaving a fatality rate of 2.19 percent.

With information from EFE

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Australia to shut state border as Melbourne infections surge

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian authorities were preparing to close the border between the country’s two largest states, as the country’s second-largest city, Melbourne, recorded two deaths and its highest-ever daily increase in infections on Monday.

The border between the states of New South Wales — home to Sydney — and Victoria — home to Melbourne — is due to be shut late Tuesday.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian was a critic of states that closed their borders to her state when Sydney had Australia’s largest number of coronavirus cases. But she said she changed her stance because the situation in Melbourne was unprecedented and indicated the pandemic was in a new phase.

The overwhelming majority of new infections detected in Melbourne in recent weeks were from community transmission. Everywhere else in Australia, the vast majority of people who tested positive for the virus were infected overseas or had been infected by a returned traveler, Berejiklian said.

“What is occurring in Victoria has not yet occurred anywhere else in Australia,” she said Monday. “It’s a new part of the pandemic and, as such, it requires a new type of response.”

The Victorian government locked down 36 of the most virus-prone Melbourne suburbs last week and at the weekend added another four suburbs because of the disease spread.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said of the 127 new cases recorded overnight, 53 were among 3,000 people who have been confined by police to their apartments in nine public housing blocks since Saturday.

Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paulk Kelly has described the high-rises as “vertical cruise ships” because of the high risk of virus spread.

Police allege a 32-year-old man bit a police officer on Monday as he attempted to leave a high-rise in the suburb of Flemington. He would be charged with assault, resisting police and attempting to breach a pandemic order, Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said.

The infections announced Monday surpassed the first surge of infections in Melbourne that peaked on March 28 at 111 cases recorded in a day.

Daniels said he agreed with Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a Sydney resident, that the border needed to close. Three in five Australian residents live in Sydney or Melbourne and the air services between the two cities before the pandemic were among the busiest in the world.

“I think it is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus,” Andrews said.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd confirmed that federal authorities agreed with the closure. The federal government had previously opposed any internal border closures aimed mostly at stopping spread from Victoria and New South Wales. Morrison had urged state leaders to open their borders for the good of the economy.

Kidd said that only 16% of new cases detected in Australia in the past week had been infected overseas. Two weeks ago, 50% of new cases were people infected overseas and detected in hotel quarantine, he said.

“The situation in Melbourne has come as a jolt, not just of the people of Melbourne but people right across Australia who may have thought that this was all behind us. It is not,” Kidd said.

Outside of Victoria, another 13 cases reported in the past 24 hours were people infected overseas. Of those, 10 had been in hotel quarantine in New South Wales and three in Western Australia

New South Wales police will enforce the Victorian border closure. Some flights and trains services would continue for travelers who are given permits and exemptions, Berejiklian said.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said officers would use drones to detect people who attempt across the border via forest tracks to avoid the 55 policed road and bridge crossings.

Nationwide, Australia has recorded more than 8,500 total infections and 106 deaths.


McGuirk contributed to this report from Canberra Australia.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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