Coronavirus: Infected patients in South Korea donated blood before testing positive

Employees at a sports organisation wait in line to donate blood amid a drop in blood donors in Incheon, South Korea, on March 5, 2020.
Employees at a sports organisation wait in line to donate blood amid a drop in blood donors in Incheon, South Korea, on March 5, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL - A South Korean public servant who was infected with the coronavirus reportedly took part in a blood donation drive over a week before he was tested positive for the disease.

The patient from Daegu, the city worst hit by the Covid-19 virus in South Korea, began to display symptoms of the virus after donating blood on Feb 13, the Global Times reported. The patient was diagnosed with the disease on Feb 23.

KBS broadcaster reported that a total of six people had donated their blood within two weeks before testing positive. Although the donated blood has been recalled, half of it has been transfused to nine recipients.

On Monday (March 9), South Korea reported 248 new cases, pushing the total to 7,382.

Infections have been largely contained to Daegu and surrounding areas, although the government has not imposed restrictions over people's movements like in China and Italy.

South Korea was averaging more than 500 new virus infections a day last week, but the daily tally has fallen below that, Bloomberg reported Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun as saying.

"We're still very cautious, but there is hope that the government, the local government, the medical community, and the citizens all together will be able to create an turning point soon," the prime minister said.