It was a grand milestone for South Korea today, April 30, 2020 – they have reported no new cases of coronavirus infections. This is the first time for the country to report no new cases since COVID-19 infections surged about 10 weeks ago. South Korea had its first case on January 20, 2020, but did not see infections increase sharply until mid-February. The spread peaked on February 29 with 909 daily cases and has been declining since then.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information that stated only four new coronavirus infections occurred on Thursday, of which all came from outside the country. This update brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 10,765, with 247 confirmed deaths.
Thursday’s reports are a clear victory for South Korea, which has received international praise for how it responded to the pandemic, from its heavy reliance on widespread testing to isolation and contact tracing to control the spread of COVID-19. Health officials also stated Thursday that they came to the conclusion that there were no local transmissions of coronavirus during parliamentary elections earlier in April when authorities required voters to wear masks and gloves while casting ballots. “Twenty-nine million voters participated in the April 15 parliamentary election … Not one case related to the election has been reported during the 14 days of incubation period,” Yoon Tae-ho said in a briefing, who is the director general for public health policy.
The recent positive news from South Korea has been shown to be similar in Hong Kong, which on Thursday released news that there had been no new cases in the semiautonomous Chinese territory for five consecutive days. The city has experienced more than 1,000 cases overall and had a resurgence in infections in the latter half of March that provoked strict lockdowns on travel, including quarantining of foreign arrivals, social distancing guidelines, and many businesses adopting work-from-home policies. Hong Kong residents are strongly adhering to health guidelines like wearing masks when going outside, even with the recent decrease in new cases.