SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA) – A massive outbreak of COVID in prison has lead South Korea to roll out mass testing for 52 prisons in the country. Authorities may also extend flight suspensions from Britain in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus cases, the health minister said on Wednesday.
Over half of the total 2,292 inmates and personnel in a prison in southeastern Seoul were tested positive after a first cluster infection was reported within the prison last month, Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official, told a briefing.
As the number of confirmed cases linked to prisons throughout the country hiked to 1,191, authorities will complete mass testing on some 70,000 prison inmates and staff nationwide.
The justice ministry is separating the confirmed inmates by transferring them to a designated hospital, said Yoon.
The health authorities will also reconsider whether to extend flight suspensions from Britain after at least 12 cases of a new strain of the coronavirus had been found, said Yoon.
The country had already extended a ban on direct flights from Britain until Jan. 7, and required any passengers arriving from that country or South Africa to undergo testing before departure.
The country reported 840 new cases as of midnight on Tuesday, bringing the national tally to 65,818 infections with 1,027 deaths.