No coronavirus cases have been linked to the parliamentary elections that took place in South Korea earlier this month, health officials said Thursday.
Some 29 million voters lined up to cast ballots on April 15, Yoon Tae-ho, the country’s director general for public health policy said at a news briefing. None of the cases reported over the subsequent two-week incubation period could be traced back to the election.
That outcome offers a stark contrast to the results of Wisconsin’s controversial April 7 primary election, which took place against the wishes of the state’s governor and public health officials. As of Monday, at least 36 people who voted in person or worked the polls had tested positive for covid-19, according to Politico. Several of the people included in that count reported that they could have contracted the virus before election day, and the total number of infections is expected to increase in coming weeks.
Though South Korea was one of the hardest-hit countries in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, an aggressive approach to testing and contact tracing has since brought the virus under control. The country has managed to drastically reduce the number of infections without imposing severe lockdowns, and been hailed as a model for other nations.
South Korea’s government introduced extensive safety measures for the April 15 election, including taking voters’ temperatures before allowing them to enter polling booths. Poll workers donned hazmat suits and face shields, and made sure that mask-clad voters stood at least three feet apart.
Thursday marked the first day since February that no new domestic coronavirus cases were reported in South Korea. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the country only saw four new cases in the past 24 hours, all coming from overseas.