Schools reopen in South Korea as virus fears ease

Katie Ramirez
May 20, 2020

The South Korea Centre for Disease Control and Prevention examined 285 COVID-19 survivors who had recovered, tested negative and then tested positive for a second time.

"There have been no secondary infections from people who came in contact with the relapsed patients so far", Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official, said in comments obtained by KXLF.

The findings are preliminary and the investigation of the patients who tested positive after recovery and their contacts is ongoing. This indicated that such re-positive patients shed only a non-infectious or dead virus, reported Bloomberg. Moreover, a PCR test can not distinguish between dead and active virus particles.

South Korean authorities also said schools and employers shouldn't require people to test negative for the CCP virus if they recovered from the illness.

As of Tuesday, more than 400 people have reconfirmed cases of the virus, according to the KCDC.

Patients who recovered from the Wuhan virus but later tested positive weren't infectious, researchers in South Korea found.

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She says new guidelines for businesses that are allowed to begin reopening on Tuesday are now available on the province's website. Recoveries continue to increase with another 437 cases considered resolved, which is nearly 76-percent since the pandemic began.

The beginning of the spring semester has been postponed several times since March as South Korea battled the first large coronavirus outbreak outside China, with classes held online.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have built a reputation that they are unable to distinguish dead and living virus particles, which is why those who recovered have tested positive once again.

Health and education officials had anxious that a new cluster infections linked to nightclubs in Seoul earlier this month could once again jeopardize plans to reopen schools, but they concluded the latest outbreak appears under control. There "re-positive" cases would be referred to as "PCR re-detected after discharge from isolation".

"Under the new protocols, no additional tests are required for cases that have been discharged from isolation", researchers said. Nearly all of the cases for which blood tests were taken had antibodies against the virus.

"Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an "immunity passport" or 'risk-free certificate" that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection, ' the World Health Organization said in a statement.

It could also help with antibody debates as some experts are looking for proof that immunity is possible with the formation of COVID-19 antibodies, which are found in recovered patients.

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