People wait at a gate for international arrivals, in Incheon International Airport, Thursday. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s first confirmed monkeypox patient, who entered the country from Germany, was found to have proceeded unchecked through Incheon Airport’s health inspection, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
The KDCA said the monkeypox patient reported at the airport’s lobby after having passed the airport’s screening Tuesday.
When entering the country, the patient’s symptoms were a low-grade fever of 37 degrees Celsius, sore throat, fatigue and lesions around the body. The patient, however, did not reveal the symptoms at the health screening and passed through.
Another monkeypox patient, who was eventually sorted out as a suspected case after self-reporting, was also able to pass through the airport’s health screening upon reporting no symptoms when entering the country.
That monkeypox patient later said he or she had had a sore throat and lesions around the body since Sunday. But the person was able to pass the health screening as not having a fever.
As monkeypox patients have been able to enter the country without raising flags in the screening process, concerns and criticism against the country’s response measures have risen.
Amid mounting fears over the spread of monkeypox in the country, health authorities said that the risk of community spread of monkeypox is quite low, and the public should not worry too much about it becoming widespread.
The country’s health authorities added that the government would strengthen measures for passengers entering South Korea to report their symptoms more accurately.
Meanwhile, the two monkeypox patients are currently under treatment at Incheon Medical Center. According to the KDCA, the number of people who had been in contact with the monkeypox patients reached 49. Eight of those people had been in close contact with the patients and were classified as being at medium risk for monkeypox.