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Avoid non-essential travel to Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, says MOH

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Medical workers transfer a suspected coronavirus patient to another hospital in Cheongdo county. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised travellers to avoid non-essential trips to two places in South Korea - Daegu city and Cheongdo county - given the increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases there.

[SINGAPORE] The Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised travellers to avoid non-essential trips to two places in South Korea - Daegu city and Cheongdo county - given the increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases there.

Those travelling to the rest of the country should also exercise caution, including monitoring developments and heeding the advice of the local authorities, said an MOH statement on Sunday (Feb 23).

The definition of "suspect cases" has been expanded from Sunday to include people with pneumonia or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness who have been to either or both of these two places within 14 days before the onset of symptoms.

People in this category will be referred to hospitals for further assessment. Officers will also look out for travellers with respiratory symptoms at the aerobridges for flights coming from South Korea and at immigration checks, said the MOH.

Those with recent travel history to Daegu and Cheongdo will be asked to identify themselves.

The ministry noted that as of Sunday (Feb 23) noon, South Korea had reported 556 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection.

These include 306 cases linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the central city of Daegu and 114 from Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo. Both places have been designated by the South Korean government as "special care zones", with measures in place to reduce the risk of further transmission.

Notices will be issued to all travellers arriving at Changi Airport from South Korea, advising them on what measures to take when going to or coming from the affected places, said the MOH.

A previous advisory for Singaporeans to defer all travel to Hubei province in China and all non-essential travel to mainland China remains in place.

MOH said: "Once a case is confirmed, contact tracing will be initiated, and we will implement strict isolation, quarantine, and infection control and prevention measures to prevent further transmission."

THE STRAITS TIMES