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As COVID-19 spreads in communities, S. Koreans urged to act 'responsibly' Updated: 2020-02-21 10:08:19 KST

The epidemic in South Korea has started to explode through community transmission.
At least 53 more cases have been confirmed in just 24 hours and there are fears that the spread of the virus could lead to mass infection in some areas.

"We've come to a situation where we don't know who infected who. The fact that someone around me might be infected scares me the most. So I tell my family to stay away from areas with many people."

Daegu and the neighboring Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in the southeast of the country have seen more than half of the total confirmed cases in Korea.
At the center of the spread in the region is Korea's 31st patient.
A 60 year-old woman is being suspected of infecting more than 30 people at her church, a branch of a new religious movement known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
She has also come into contact with hundreds of people after controversially refusing to be tested twice for the virus almost two weeks ago.

Experts say the public's cooperation is needed to minimize the spread of the outbreak.

"COVID-19 can spread easily. Not only patients but also those who've been in contact with them must cooperate with the health authorities and follow instructions. This kind of assistance is crucial to protect not only one's health but the health of other people."

While the government and medical teams have led countermeasures so far, now it's up to the whole society to tackle the virus.
Without the community's direct and active cooperation, experts say there's a limit to how much we can stop the virus as there's no vaccine at the moment.

"Regular citizens must refrain from leaving the house when having symptoms like coughs, fever and a sore throat.
You should wear a mask when you go out to block even the small possibility of passing around the virus. After visiting a crowded place, washing hands for thirty seconds is a must."

Once individuals follow health rules, there's no need to fear going to public places.
He added people with suspicious symptoms should refrain from visiting hospitals but rather call '1339' and follow instructions.

"Individual measures by regular citizens are just as important as government efforts in stopping the virus from spreading. Experts say a mature sense of citizenship is needed now more than ever. Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News."
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