South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has announced it is developing a test kit that will be able to detect both seasonal flu and Covid-19.
Both diseases display similar symptoms, making it difficult for medical professionals to administer the right type of test from the beginning.
"As Covid-19 and influenza share symptoms, it is very important to discern them from each other in the country's fight against the new coronavirus," KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said in a briefing.
The KCDC says that several institutions have applied to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for kits and that the approval process is already under way.
Autumn signals the arrival of the traditional flu season and healthcare professionals are concerned that similar symptoms to the novel coronavirus, such as coughing, a sore throat and a fever, will make it harder to discern who is suffering from which affliction.
In May, the KCDC called for 30 million Koreans to get vaccinated against the flu, with priority given to the over-60s, people with preexisting medical conditions, health care workers and other workers whose jobs involve a lot of person-to-person interactions.
Dr. Ki Moran of the National Cancer Center told the Korean Herald that these shots should also be available “free of charge.”
South Korea reported 108 locally transmitted cases and 11 imported cases on Monday. So far 21,296 cases have been reported. The social distancing policies and test and trace system in place have been effective at controlling a second wave.
However, despite a decline in cases, the Ministry of Health said they were considering keeping social distancing policies in place until after the Chuseok holiday, a three-day holiday known as ‘Korea’s Thanksgiving’ when millions of people travel across the country to spend time with friends and family.