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Thousands Of People Queue Up In South Korea For Face Masks

Thousands Of People Queue Up In South Korea For Face Masks

Thousands of people have been spotted queuing for face masks in South Korea, as fears grow over the spread of Covid-19.

Concerned residents lined up outside a supermarket in the city of Daegu today (Monday 24 February) in a bid to protect themselves from the disease.

This comes as it was announced that South Korea has the largest number of confirmed cases outside of mainland China, with some 830 people having contracted the disease and eight having died.

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The worrying footage was captured by local newspaper Maeil Shinmun.

According to reports, 140 of the cases reported in the country were either in or near Daegu, which boasts a population of around 2.5 million people.

It's said that 129 of the 161 most recent cases have been linked to the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, where an elderly woman tested positive for Covid-19 after visiting the church twice.

Thousands queue as fears grow over the Covid-19 outbreak. Credit: Maeil Shinmun
Thousands queue as fears grow over the Covid-19 outbreak. Credit: Maeil Shinmun
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Another cluster of cases has been linked to a hospital in nearby Cheongdo - including two deaths.

Officials in South Korea had hoped to keep the outbreak confined, however, some have noted that there are signs the virus could be spreading further across the country.

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South Korean vice health minister Kim Gang-lip told the media: "In Daegu, the number of new cases that are being confirmed by tests is quite large, and if we fail to effectively stem community transmissions in this area, there would be a large possibility (that the illness) spreads nationwide."

According to reports, Mr Gang-lip says they plan to test every one of the city's residents who seem to be exhibiting cold-like symptoms which, he claimed, could number almost 30,000 people.

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Since the outbreak began earlier this year, around 80,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported worldwide, with more than 2,600 people having died as a result.

Shoppers wearing masks in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: PA
Shoppers wearing masks in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: PA
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And while it's not hit the UK with the same force as it has China, it has made an impact, including for businesses.

The bosses of retail giant Primark have warned they could suffer from stock shortages later on in the year if the outbreak is prolonged.

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Associated British Foods, the company that owns the huge UK clothing chain, relies on factories in China for many of its products across its companies, but said it's built up inventories ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday as normal, and expects no short term impact.

However, if the virus outbreak continues until those stocks are depleted, there could be shortages across some of its businesses that rely on stock from China later in the year.

The company's latest trading statement said: "Following the outbreak of Covid-19 in China, our main priority is the health and safety of our colleagues and we are taking all possible actions to support them.

"At the same time, each of our businesses are closely monitoring the current and potential effects on their operations of the outbreak. The effect on supply chains for businesses dependent on Chinese sourcing continues to evolve."

Featured Image Credit: Maeil Shinmun

Topics: World News, Coronavirus, Health

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Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]