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Seoul detention center reports 7 more COVID-19 cases, 5 of them among female inmates

15:46 January 12, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- A detention center in southeastern Seoul, the center of recent mass COVID-19 outbreaks, has reported seven more confirmed cases from its latest round of mass testing, the justice ministry said Tuesday.

The additional seven cases were confirmed at the Dongbu Detention Center on Monday during its eighth round of mass testing conducted on all inmates and center officials. Two of the new cases involved male inmates while the remaining cases involved female inmates, according to the ministry.

Additionally, three former inmates who were recently released from the detention center, as well as two correctional officials from another detention facility in Sangju, about 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul, have tested positive, raising the total COVID-19 caseload across correctional facilities nationwide to 1,238 as of 8 a.m.

This photo, taken on Jan. 12, 2021, shows Dongbu Detention Center in southeastern Seoul, where over 1,000 COVID-19 cases were reported. (Yonhap)

The latest COVID-19 outbreak in the female ward at the Dongbu Detention Center raised the alert against a potential cluster of infections among female inmates.

No female inmate had tested positive at the detention center even as mass infections there, involving both current and former inmates, recently reached more than 1,000. But the first case involving a female inmate was confirmed in the recent seventh round of mass testing Saturday before the center reported five additional female cases Monday.

Since reporting its first coronavirus case in November, the center has transferred some of its inmates to other correctional facilities and put them under isolation to contain further spread of the virus among prisoners.

Of them, all of some 250 female inmates who were relocated to a facility in Daegu, around 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, tested negative for the virus.

Another 85 inmates who were transferred to a prison in Cheongsong, North Gyeongsang Province, after being infected with the virus all tested negative in re-testing and came out of self-quarantine.

nyway@yna.co.kr
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