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COVID-19 hits Daegu city officials


Five officials of the Daegu city government were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 as of Thursday morning, as the city struggles to deal with over 1,000 confirmed cases and another 1,000 in isolation.

Three additional staff infections were confirmed overnight, after a staff member of the deputy mayor’s office was confirmed Tuesday and another official who had a meal with that person was confirmed Wednesday.

The infections have prompted the city government to shut down buildings and make hundreds of staff work from home, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to health authorities on Thursday, an official of the city government’s construction headquarters was confirmed with COVID-19, and the building he worked in was disinfected and closed off.

The two other newly confirmed cases worked at the Palgongsan Natural Park management office and the urban railroad construction headquarters. Their offices were temporarily shut down.

The city government is tracking those who had contact with the confirmed cases, and some divisions under its Innovation Growth Bureau are considering keeping staff in isolation until next week.

Some have advised staff to have meals alone and are considering holding meetings over the telephone or social media.

Earlier, the public health center of Seo-gu in Daegu was shut off, as five of its staff were confirmed with COVID-19.

The manager of the infection prevention team at the Seo-gu public health center, who later revealed himself to be a member of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, was confirmed to be infected Sunday, and four of his co-workers were confirmed Monday.

Health authorities confirmed that the four contracted the virus from their manager. Thirty-four people who were in close contact with them have been placed in self-quarantine.

The health center was disinfected Feb. 21 and Tuesday, and the health division of the Seo-gu ward office has taken over its duties.

The health division is handling telephone consultations, bookings for COVID-19 tests, collection of clinical specimens, transportation of specimens and patients, quarantine of contacts, facility shutdowns and tracking those in self-quarantine.

A staff member of the public health center in Nam-gu, Daegu, was also confirmed with COVID-19 and has not gone to work since Feb. 19.

By Kim So-hyun (