SEOUL, May 11 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s health authorities said Monday that the loss of smell and taste are among the key clinical symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus as the country tries to stem the spread of the infectious disease amid a spike in new cases linked to bars and clubs in Seoul.
In its latest revision to the country’s COVID-19 response manual, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the inability to smell and a diminished sense of taste can be indications that a person has been infected with COVID-19.
It also officially said that headaches, chills and muscle cramps can indicate a coronavirus infection.
In the past, only fever, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat and pneumonia were listed as physical signs of the illness.
After having successfully controlled the epidemic, the country reported yet another cluster of infections linked to nightclubs and bars in Seoul’s trendy Itaewon district.
So far, 86 virus cases have been traced to Itaewon facilities, with authorities trying to find and test possibly thousands of people who visited such establishments.
As of Monday, South Korea has confirmed 10,909 cases and 256 deaths from the pandemic.
“The changes reflect clinical data collected so far, and people showing these kinds of symptoms need to be checked,” Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the public health agency, stressed at a news briefing.
She said that front-line doctors are encouraged to administer coronavirus tests on people they suspect may be infected.
The latest update comes as the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention already said that prolonged chills, muscle cramps and migraines are telltale signs of the coronavirus.
In addition to adding more symptoms to its guidelines, the KCDC said it will tighten rules on releasing people in quarantine.
The move comes as scores of people who were released after undergoing repeated tests and showing no outward symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 later on.
The health agency said the revised guidelines only allow people to be released if they meet all set preconditions, like passing tests and showing no symptoms of the virus for seven days.