SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s health authorities said Wednesday that up to 40 percent of coronavirus patients were symptom-free, indicating that people can contract the virus unwittingly and the country’s virus fight may be tougher than expected.
Asymptomatic, “silent” virus spreaders have been one of the key challenges for health authorities in fighting the pandemic.
A large number of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients has been detected when health authorities conducted virus tests on people who came in contact with virus patients, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Of the people newly testing positive for the virus, “around 30 to 40 percent of them have been asymptomatic,” KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said in a daily press briefing.
The number of asymptomatic patients is assumed to be 10 times more than the confirmed virus cases, medical experts said in June.
Over the past two weeks, the portion of cases with transmission routes that are untraceable accounted for 22.2 percent of the total infections.
The country added 156 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, raising the total caseload to 21,588, according to the KCDC.
South Korea has carried out 2,082,234 COVID-19 tests since Jan. 3. The country reported its first case on Jan. 20.