Seoul – The coronavirus outbreak in Seoul appears to have reached its worst point over the past week, an analysis of official data showed on Wednesday.
It however, reached worst largely due to a recent string of cluster infections traced to crowds and sports facilities.
The capital’s average daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases recently already surpassed the previous high point reached in the middle of March, when the number of new infections linked to a call centre in the southern ward of Guro was spiralling.
“The number of coronavirus patients isolated in Seoul’s hospitals for medical treatment is also approaching the previous high point,’’ the analysis showed.
It found that the daily average of locally transmitted cases per week, or the seven-day moving average of daily cases, stood at 18.9 persons in Seoul on Sunday and 19.3 persons on Monday, compared with 17 persons recorded on March 14.
The daily average for Tuesday is estimated to hit 18.9 persons.
Yonhap used the moving average method in its analysis to reduce statistical loopholes caused by decreases in the number of tests conducted on weekends.
The number of hospitalised coronavirus patients, including those who arrived from abroad, rose to 359 people as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, compared with the previous high point of 408 people recorded on April 5.
Considering the recent spike in new cases, the number of patients requiring hospital treatment is expected to continue to grow for the time being.
The number of hospitalised patients was in excess of 200 between mid-March and late April before declining, however, beginning in late May, the figure has risen above the 200 mark.
In contrast to a steady decline in imported cases, locally transmitted infections traced to clubs, churches, warehouses, call centres, indoor sports facilities and a health product retailer have broken out throughout the Seoul metropolitan area.
Since May 2, the capital’s reproduction rate of the coronavirus, which reflects the average number of people getting infected by a patient, has remained above 1, meaning the virus is steadily spreading in the city.
The number of cumulative COVID-19 infections in Seoul reached 1,027, while South Korea reported 50 new cases on the day, raising the total caseload to 11,902.