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‘Walk-Through’ Virus Testing to Start at Incheon International Airport on March 25
To Prevent Inflow of Virus from Overseas
‘Walk-Through’ Virus Testing to Start at Incheon International Airport on March 25
  • By Choi Moon-hee
  • March 24, 2020, 10:55
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Passengers from Frankfurt, Germany wait in line in Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport to catch a bus to a quarantine facility.

The Korean government will introduce “walk-through” novel coronavirus testing stations at Incheon International Airport on March 25 to prevent the inflow of the virus from overseas and conduct rapid diagnostic tests.

According to the Central Quarantine Headquarters under the Korea Center for Disease Control, 14 (21.9 percent) of the 64 newly confirmed cases reported on March 23 were from overseas.

On March 22, the first day when COVID-19 tests were conducted for all travelers from Europe, the number of immigrants from Europe hit 1,442, of which 152 with COVID-19 symptoms were quarantined and tested at airport quarantine facilities.

A total of 1,324 people (1,221 Koreans and 103 foreigners) came to Korea via six flights from Europe. Among them, 92.2 percent were Koreans.

A walk-through testing station is about as big as a public phone booth. When a person enters the booth, a medical staff member collects samples while wearing gloves attached to the wall. At existing testing stations, it takes three minutes to collect samples and 10 minutes to disinfect the station to prevent the infection of the next visitor.

The walk-through system can reduce disinfection time and receive more visitors by creating several booths for visitors. The biggest advantage of the system is its speed. At existing screening stations, it takes 30 minutes to complete the entire sample collection process. Yet a walk-through station requires only five minutes. This is because it takes less time to disinfect the sample collection space.

Meanwhile, the Central Quarantine Headquarters announced that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased 64 to a total of 8,961 as of midnight on March 23. At the same, 257 people were freed from quarantine, pushing up the number of those completely cured to 3,166.