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Gov't to expand free coronavirus testing to prevent new wave of infections

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, right, speaks during a COVID-19 countermeasure safety meeting at North Jeolla Provincial Office in Jeonju, April 7, with the office head Song Ha-jin, left, attending the meeting. Yonhap
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, right, speaks during a COVID-19 countermeasure safety meeting at North Jeolla Provincial Office in Jeonju, April 7, with the office head Song Ha-jin, left, attending the meeting. Yonhap

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Wednesday the government will expand free coronavirus testing, with recent spikes in new cases spurring concerns of a fourth wave of infections.

The country reported 668 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the most since Feb. 18, as sporadic cluster infections continued to increase across the country.

"We will expand free testing so that anyone can get a free coronavirus diagnostic test regardless of the social distancing stage or symptoms," Chung said during a government COVID-19 response meeting.

The nation offers free testing when a test-taker shows symptoms or the third-highest level in the five-tier social distancing scheme is reached.

"If a fourth wave of infections becomes a reality, vaccination will be inevitably disrupted and the economy will be dealt a serious blow," Chung said during the meeting held at the North Jeolla provincial government building in Jeonju, 200 kilometers south of Seoul.

He noted cluster infections have been growing simultaneously across the country since last week.

"We must spare no efforts to block the spread through rapid epidemiological investigations and preemptive tests," he added.

Chung also called on voters to comply with COVID-19 guidelines when casting ballots in the local by-elections under way in 21 local entities including Seoul and Busan. (Yonhap)




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