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Oxygen therapy working for coronavirus patient, Seoul says

By Elizabeth Shim   |   Feb. 14, 2020 at 11:23 AM
South Korean health authorities said Friday one of the remaining 21 coronavirus patients in the country has shown signs of improvement following oxygen therapy. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Oxygen therapy has been effective in the treatment of a critically ill patient infected with the new strain of coronavirus in South Korea, local health authorities said Friday.

Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said one of the remaining 21 COVID-19 patients in the country was still in critical condition this week. The patient's symptoms have been improving after oxygen was administered using a face mask, local news service Newsis reported.

Jeong said the therapy raises the degree of oxygen saturation in the patient through the delivery of high concentrations of oxygen. The therapy does not require the use of a respirator, the South Korean official said.

Local health authorities have said there are no other "critically ill" patients.

Concerns may have been growing in Korea about high-risk patients, following the death of an elderly woman in neighboring Japan due to the coronavirus on Thursday.

The Japanese woman, identified as a resident of Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo, died after her health significantly declined. She had tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 1. Japan is reporting the highest number of cases outside China. Kyodo News said Friday more than 250 people have been found to be infected.

South Korea has reported no new coronavirus patients for four consecutive days. Seven patients have "fully recovered" and been released, according to Seoul this week.

On Saturday and Sunday, the country is expected to end the quarantine of about 700 South Korean nationals who were evacuated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started.

South Korean news network Channel A reported Friday the quarantined South Koreans expressed gratitude to the residents of Asan, a nearby city, for their support during a difficult period of isolation.

Park Jong-cheon, a South Korean basketball coach for a youth team in China's Hubei Province, said in a message he would "never forget the love" he received, and that all the residents of Asan are welcome to visit him in Wuhan, according to the report.

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