In South Korea, health officials are trying to solve a mystery: why 163 people who recovered from coronavirus have retested positive, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The same has been recorded in China, where some coronavirus patients tested positive after seeming to recover, although there are no official figures.
That raises the question: can you get reinfected with coronavirus?
In South Korea, the proportion of cases that retest positive is low — of the 7,829 people who have recovered from coronavirus there, 2.1% retested positive, the KCDC said Friday. It is not clear how many of the people who have recovered have been tested again.
But patients retesting positive is still a concern around the world, including in countries like South Korea where authorities appear to have brought the outbreak under control.
Medical staff wearing protective clothing take test samples for the Covid-19 coronavirus from a foreign passenger at a virus testing booth outside Incheon international airport, west of Seoul, on April 1, 2020.
KCDC deputy director Kwon Joon-wook said that so far, there’s no indication that patients who retest positive are contagious, even though about 44% of them showed mild symptoms.
But he cautioned there is still a lot scientists don’t know about the virus, including the issue of naturally acquired immunity.
“Covid-19 is the most challenging pathogen we may have faced in recent decades,” Kwon said. “It is a very difficult and challenging enemy.”