Feb. 12 (UPI) -- More confirmed patients of the coronavirus in South Korea have recovered from the fatal illness, giving cause for optimism for patients of the outbreak that began in central China.
South Korean health authorities said Wednesday three patients have fully recovered and been released from intensive care, bringing the total number of recovered patients in the country to seven, a 25 percent recovery rate, local television network SBS reported.
The patients who were released from care are all South Korean nationals: Patients No. 3, No. 8 and No. 17, according to the report. A total of 28 patients have been confirmed to have the virus since January.
Patient No. 3, a South Korean man in his 50s, was confirmed for the virus on Jan. 20 upon his return from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Patient No. 3 showed signs of recovery last week after treatment at Myongji Hospital in Gyeonggi Province, said Shin Hyuk-jai, a vice president at the hospital.
Patient No. 8, identified as a 62-year-old South Korean woman, initially tested negative for the virus after returning from Wuhan. Patient No. 17 was confirmed for COVID-19 upon returning from a conference in Singapore, according to SBS.
Kim Kang-rip, head of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters, urged the public to "not cancel events and festivals" as South Korea confirmed no new patients for two consecutive days.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of KCDC, warned it is "premature" to assume infections are on the decline, however.
"We see a possibility there could be more reports of patients, following contact of some kind," Jeong said, according to SBS.
South Korea's Patient No. 1, a Chinese woman, returned to her hometown of Wuhan following treatment in Korea and a full recovery, South Korean network Channel A reported Wednesday.
The woman, identified by her surname Huang, provided details of her illness to the network, including diarrhea, feelings of nausea at the sight of food and "11 days of nonstop fever." Huang also thanked South Korean medical professionals, calling them "heroes," according to the report.
More than 1,100 people, mostly in China, have died since the outbreak.