SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — Eighteen more residential treatment centers will open in Seoul this week to cope with surging numbers of coronavirus cases in the capital, the city government said Monday.
The centers will be run by the city’s wards and house 1,577 additional beds for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, Park Yoo-mi, a disease control official at the city government, said at a regular press briefing.
Five centers with a total of 569 beds opened Sunday. The remaining 13 centers are scheduled to open by the weekend, she said.
South Korea has been experiencing a shortage of hospital beds due to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the country.
On Sunday, the country reported a record 1,030 new cases, including 399 in Seoul, 331 in the adjacent Gyeonggi Province and 62 in Incheon, west of Seoul.
The city currently operates nine residential treatment centers, with 1,937 beds, of which 1,228 are occupied and 251 are available for immediate use.
Shipping containers have been set up at several hospitals in the city to accommodate patients who are recovering after being treated for moderate cases of COVID-19.
To facilitate testing, the city opened 14 makeshift testing sites Monday and plans to increase their number to 56, and if necessary, to 71.
These sites will offer quick antigen tests and saliva-based tests, in addition to the PCR tests that are known to be the most accurate.
“If you have even the slightest suspicion of symptoms or have no symptoms but feel unsure, please get tested,” Park said.