Bleak warning as second wave declared
Top health experts in South Korea have declared the country is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases after a sustained uptick in new cases.
The country was hailed as a leader in controlling the virus in the early stages of the pandemic, as it managed the number of cases with draconian lockdowns on its citizens, and the closure of non essential businesses. The measures were swift and effective.
The country was held up as an international leader for the success of its "test, trace and contain" method to bring the number of cases and deaths under control. In February their daily case numbers peaked at 909 - but by April they'd got the number of new daily cases down to single digits.
However, the numbers have picked up again, with daily new case numbers spiking at the end of May to 79 in a single day. Since then, the average daily new cases have hovered between 30 and 58.
It's a grim reminder to Australia not to get too confident following early success, as the number of new cases has continued to steadily rise for ten consecutive days in Victoria.
The spike in cases in South Korea, now referred to as a second wave, has been traced back to a holiday weekend during May that coincided with a slight easing of restrictions in the country. Officials now say the first wave lasted from March through to April, according to the country's new assessment of the situation, and the second wave began from May.
The second wave in South Korea was declared by the country's Head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC), Jung Eun-kyeong.
"In the metropolitan area, we believe that the first wave was from March to April, as well as February to March," Jung said.
"Then we see that the second wave, which was triggered by the May holiday, has been going on."
Since then, the situation has slowly worsened. Most of the new cases are being reported from the country's densely populated capital Seoul.
On Wednesday the country reported 51 new cases, followed by 28 on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 12,602.
The numbers aren't a world away from what's being recorded in Victoria.
On Thursday Victoria reported 33 new cases of coronavirus, and on Friday a further 30 cases were reported in the state.
It was the state's tenth consecutive day of increasing numbers of new cases - a trend that has alarmed the National Cabinet and the state's Premier Daniel Andrews.
In Queensland a new case was also reported on Friday, breaking the state's nine day streak of no new cases. The case in Queensland was from an overseas traveller who had returned to Queensland.
On Friday the Federal Department of Health reported Australia had 512 active cases of coronavirus.
A total 7558 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Australia. Of those, 104 people have died.
Originally published as Bleak warning as second wave declared