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South Korea confirms 11 coronavirus cases

South Korea confirms 11 coronavirus cases
South Koreans recently returned from China have been the origin of secondary and tertiary transmissions of the deadly coronavirus in the country, Seoul said Friday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- South Korea confirmed 11 cases of the coronavirus, and is reporting its first case of tertiary transmission, the first of its kind outside China where the official death toll climbed to 213 on Friday.

Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday at a press briefing the tertiary transmission cases occurred between South Korea's sixth patient and two of the patient's family members, South Korean television network SBS reported.

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Jeong said cases No. 10 and 11 are the result of tertiary, or third-hand, transmission, but so far the patients have exhibited "mild symptoms."

A total of five new patients were reported on Friday, up from a total of six patients on Thursday.

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Patient No. 7 is a South Korean man who returned from Wuhan, China, last week. He boarded a plane from Qingdao. Patient No. 8 was identified as a 62-year-old South Korean woman who had not been to Wuhan but was on board the same plane from Qingdao as Patient No. 7, according to SBS. The two patients are being treated at separate medical centers.

South Korea's ninth patient was infected via secondary transmission after a meeting with Patient No. 5, who had returned from Wuhan.

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The case of secondary transmission between Patient No. 3 and Patient No. 6, reported Thursday, provides an example of how quickly and easily the deadly coronavirus could be spreading between people.

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The transmission occurred when patients No. 3 and 6 met for over an hour at a restaurant in southern Seoul, local network MBC reported Friday.

Patient No. 3 may have not been quarantined upon return from Wuhan because of an absence of symptoms. At the restaurant, the patient infected the sixth patient, an acquaintance, in the course of an hour while seated a few feet away, according to the report.

South Korea's confirmed cases may grow following the repatriation of more than 300 citizens from Wuhan. A total of 200 returnees are to undergo a 14-day quarantine in the city of Asan, where they were given a welcome from local residents on Friday, Yonhap reported.

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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the quarantine period is ten days.

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