South Korea's oldest Covid-19 patient recovers, age 104

PHOTO: Pohang Medical Centre

South Korea's oldest coronavirus patient was discharged from hospital on Friday (May 15) after recovering from her infection aged 104.

Choi Sang-boon left Pohang Medical Centre, in the southeast of the country, on the same day that the number of people being treated for Covid-19 in South Korea fell to fewer than 1,000 for the first time in more than two months.

Health care workers put up a celebratory banner for Choi, who had been in hospital for 67 days, and presented her with a bouquet of flowers to congratulate her on her discharge and wish her good health.

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"We are all grateful that she endured her long treatment and hardship to return to her normal life", said Ham In-suk, head of the medical centre, in a statement.

Choi became the 291st Covid-19 patient to recover and be discharged from Pohang Medical Centre, Ham said, adding that 31 others were still being treated.

The 104-year-old, who has underlying health issues, tested positive on March 8 as part of a cluster of coronavirus infections at a care home in Gyeongsan City near Daegu, once the epicentre of South Korea's epidemic.

She suffered inflammation of the intestines, decreased consciousness and low blood pressure while in hospital, but frequently expressed gratitude to the medical staff who stayed by her side round the clock, according to the statement.

South Korea reported 27 new coronavirus cases on Friday, 22 of which were local infections that have mostly been traced back to Itaewon, an entertainment district in Seoul - a cluster that has affected more than 130 people so far.

Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health official, said the number of Covid-19 patients being treated in the country was now in the triple digits - the first time it has fallen below 1,000 since February 26.

"The number of patients being treated now is at a managerial level for the country's medical system and this means the treatment system has entered a stable phase to fight the coronavirus outbreak", he said.

In total, South Korea has reported a little over 11,000 coronavirus infections, with 260 deaths.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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