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Q. COVID-19 negative if I can hold my breath for 10 seconds?
False. The claim is that if you can hold your breath for 10 seconds you don’t have pulmonary fibrosis and thus you are COVID-19 negative. Ki-suk Jung, a professor from the Division of Pulmonology, Hallym University Medical Center stated that "There are rumors that COVID-19 leads to pulmonary fibrosis in some cases, but considering the circumstances, even if pulmonary fibrosis follows, it won’t be that severe…pulmonary fibrosis does not derive from a virus at the beginning of an illness but from a nonspecifically spontaneous origination”. Moreover, the American Lung Association’s pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis method does not include ‘hold your breath for 10 seconds’ test. Therefore, this is not an indicator of whether you have COVID-19 infection.
Q. I am a suspected COVID-19 patient.
What should I do now?
If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, etc), you should refrain from going to work or school and stay at home for 3~4 days while keeping an eye out. If you have symptoms such as a high fever of 38 degrees or higher, you should visit a designated medical center nearby or call 1339 for consultation.
Q. COVID-19 inspection cost? Time? Location?
If you are a suspected patient who has symptoms such as fever, cough, breathing difficulties within 14 days of contacting a confirmed patient during the patient’s symptomatic period, the cost of COVID-19 testing is free in Korea. However, there are charges for other examinations like the general medical examination and X-ray examination. It takes 6 hours to conduct a genetic test but considering the time it takes for sample transfer and for waiting on other examination requests, you may have the results in 1~2 days after the examination. Testing locations are designated medical centers[Link]. that can collect samples. If you have further questions, contact the Korea CDC call center (1339, area code +120) or public health centers.
Q. Is the treatment free of charge for foreigners in South Korea, if infected and hospitalized?
True. Article 67, Clause 9 of the ‘Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act’ specifies that "the government will pay the expenses for a foreign infectee’s hospital treatment, investigation, and examination”. Moreover, the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) [Article 40] states that foreigners visiting temporarily should not be charged with any fees such as medical examination and quarantine costs. Therefore, if a foreigner is infected in South Korea, the Korean government shall pay for the costs. Similarly, if a Korean national is infected, the local government will bear the treatment expenses.
Q. Are thermal image cameras effective in identifying COVID-19 infectees?
Partially True. According to the UK National Health Service (NHS), thermal imaging cameras are effective in identifying high fever patients. However, because they only measure body temperature, COVID-19 infectees without high fever or those in their incubation period cannot be distinguished.
Q. What constitutes "Close contact with COVID-19 infectee"?
- Sharing a house with an infectee.
- Making contact with bodily secretions from an infectee
- Face-to-face contact (ex. talking face-to-face for more than a few minutes)
- Sharing a closed space with an infectee coughing(without a mask)
- Within 2 meters distance with an infectee for more than 15 minutes
Q. Why do they ask for my medical history before the COVID-19 checkup?
For COVID-19 tests, the patient’s medical history along with epidemiological investigation, biochemical test, and symptom report is carefully reviewed. This is because the underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and cardiac infarction make patients more susceptible to cellular invasion by the virus. Additionally, medical history is necessary for medical staffs to take precautions during emergencies.