At least 51 South Korean citizens who had contracted coronavirus disease and later got cured of the contagion, have tested positive again for the virus, the country’s government-funded Yonhap News Agency reports.
The news outlet says all the 51 patients hail from Daegu.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), it was puzzling that the patients tested COVID-19 positive — again — in a “relatively short time” after doctors declared them virus-free.
Yonhap News Agency reports that a specialist team has been sent to conduct an epidemiological investigation in Daegu, which is the epicenter of the epidemic in South Korea.
KCDC director-general, Jeong Eun-kyeong, said he believes the virus got inactive in the patients, and, therefore, it could not be detected when the carriers underwent final tests before being declared virus-free.
According to Eun-kyeong, it is highly unlikely that the patients recontracted the disease after getting exposed to carriers.
Chinese doctors had previously warned that when the virus recurs in a healed patient, its symptoms manifest in deadlier manner.
Doctors on the front lines in Wuhan — where the virus first originated — previously said as many as 10 per cent of those assumed to have recovered had tested positive again.
One patient, Li Liang, 36, reportedly died of COVID-19 after previously being declared virus-free.
Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases professor at the University of East Anglia, told Mail Online that the cases were far more likely to be “reactivations” — or even just a sign of current testing being flawed.
“Personally, I think the most likely explanation is that the clearance samples were false negative,” Hunter told the news website.