A confirmed patient of COVID-19 was found dead alone during at-home treatment in Seoul. With a series of deaths under self-treatment reported, critics are concerned of a warning signal from the self-treatment quarantine system put in place since Feb. 10.
A man aged 59 was found dead in his residence in Bongcheon-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, at 9:51 a.m. on Saturday, according to Gwanak Police Station on Sunday. Confirmed to have COVID-19 and starting self-quarantine on Friday, he stayed home alone while his family was away in a different place. Not being able to reach him, his family called 119 on Saturday morning.
A local public health center tried to reach the man in question on the phone four times to ask him to cooperate on a basic epidemiological investigation, failing to talk to him, according to health authorities. He ended up passing away without being able to see a doctor after testing positive for the virus. Last Tuesday, a man in his 70s in Incheon went to a public sauna even under at-home treatment and died, only highlighting loopholes in the self-quarantine system.
Experts worry that the shortage of hospital beds around late last year may repeat itself as the government has lessened quarantine regulations. As of midnight on Sunday, the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 patients was 104,829, exceeding the 100,000 threshold for three days running. The number of severe conditions in hospital recorded 439, 50 percent up from a week ago (288) on Feb. 13 while more than 450,000 under at-home treatment. Over the recent week, 324 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported, around triple than the number of deaths (118) over the week from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7 right after the nation initiated a phased return to normal.
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