In South Korea, at least 116 people who’ve recovered from the coronavirus are testing positive again, leading officials to the conclusion that the virus can become “reactivated.”
While the country only reported 25 new cases overall on Monday (Apr 13), the rise in “reactivated” cases has raised concerns. Additionally, Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), believes these are relapses and not re-infections.
Archie Clements, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the Curtin University in Perth, Australia, adds, “I think what is very, very unlikely is that these people are being reinfected by other people. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that there is quite a strong immune response to infection with coronavirus, and that should protect people from infection for a period of time. What’s not currently known is for how long.”
Furthermore, South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told his residents, “Later this week, we plan to review our intensive social distancing campaign that we have carried out so far and discuss whether we will switch to routine safety measures. We need a very cautious approach because any premature easing of social distancing could bring irreversible consequences, and have to ponder deeply about when and how we switch to the new system.”