In a photo taken on May 10, 2020, people sit in a park in Seoul. - South Korea announced its highest number of new coronavirus cases for more than a month on May 11, driven by an infection cluster in a Seoul nightlife district just as the country loosens restrictions. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (AFP / Ed Jones)

Hoax figures circulate in online posts about South Korea's reported coronavirus cases

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Multiple posts on Facebook and in Naver Blogs claim that South Korea has reported more than 600 domestic cases of the novel coronavirus on November 18, 2020. The claim is false; official figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) for November 18 show the country reported a total of 343 cases, 293 of which are local infections.

The claim was published in the below Facebook post on November 19, 2020.

Part of the Korean-language post translates to English as:

“Covid-19 Update (As of 22:00, 18 November) - Number of domestic infections: 613.

“Covid-19 Update (As of 21:00, 18 November) - Number of domestic infections: 582.

“Covid-19 Update (As of 20:00, 18 November) - Number of domestic infections: 432.

“Covid-19 Update (As of 18:00, 18 November) - Number of domestic infections: 412.”

Similar claims were also shared on various posts on Facebook and Naver blog.

The claim, however, is false.

According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), South Korea reported a total 343 new cases of Covid-19 to midnight November 19, 2020, 293 of which were domestic infections.

Screenshot of KDCA website, captured on November 19, 2020

South Korea’s KDCA provides the official statistics for the country’s coronavirus case numbers once daily on its website here. It does not provide hourly updates.

South Korean police have since warned it will take “stern action” against misinformation about Covid-19, including false claims about case numbers.

AFP has redacted links to the misleading posts in this report for legal reasons.
 
Richard Kang