Employers Should Not Rely on Antibody Tests to Reopen — CDC

Henrietta Brewer
May 29, 2020

South Korea has reported its biggest spike in new coronavirus cases in almost two months, raising fears of a second wave of disease in a country widely praised for containing the initial outbreak.

The new measures in Seoul appeared to have little effect on the USA military community because Yongsan Garrison and the nearby K-16 base were the only US installations kept under a heightened alert level known as Health Protection Condition-Charlie.

South Korea was reporting around 500 new cases per day in early March before managing to stabilize its outbreak with aggressive tracking and testing, which allowed officials to relax social distancing guidelines.

According to Yonhap News, some 266 cases have been traced to the Itaewon cluster.

Students eat lunch at tables equipped with plastic barriers to prevent possible spread of the new coronavirus in the cafeteria at Jeonmin High School in Daejeon South Korea Wednesday May 20

Also, all logistics centers in the metropolitan area will undergo intensive disinfection work.

Coupang and Market Kurly, an online grocery delivery platform, also reported virus infections at their logistics centers in Goyang, north of Seoul and in eastern Seoul, respectively. The number of infections linked to a large outbreak at the Coupang distribution center in Bucheon, Gyeonggi, rose to 96 on Friday, an increase of 27.

Health authorities said they are conducting an epidemiological study into the cases, adding that workers at the facility did not appear to properly comply with quarantine measures.

The government stopped short of reimposing restrictions nationwide, but Park warned the next two weeks would be "crucial" in determining if measures need to be expanded. It checked the three facilities the previous day where the virus outbreak occurred.

The total caseload linked to Itaewon clubs and bars had reached 266 as of noon, according to the KCDC.

South Korea is witnessing tremendous pressure on its move to open schools after the country witnessed a new spike in deadly coronavirus cases. Health officials warned that the resurgence is getting harder to track and social distancing and other steps need to be taken.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said the government-run public facilities would close from Friday to June 14 in the densely populated capital and surrounding areas to slow the spread of the virus. A report by the Korea Times, quoting the Ministry of Education, says a further 117 schools in the capital Seoul have also postponed their re-opening.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 82,995 cases. The fatality rate was 2.36 percent.

The spreading outbreak and warehouse closures come as Coupang and other e-commerce firms scramble to keep up with a surge in orders as more people opted to shop from home during the coronavirus outbreak, despite the absence of a strict lockdown.

It is worth noting that the EEOC has issued guidance (discussed in more detail in our blog here) confirming that, for the duration of the direct threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, employers may administer COVID-19 diagnostic tests to employees before they are permitted to enter the workplace.

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