10 new virus cases confirmed, no new deaths again

South Korea reported 10 additional coronavirus cases Saturday amid no new deaths linked with the disease.

Ten more people in the country were diagnosed with COVID-19 the day before, bringing the total number of patients to 10,718, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Four of them arrived from foreign countries, including two foreigners.

Among the 10 cases, three were reported in Daegu, which used to be at the heart of the rapid spread of the virus several weeks earlier. Two others were confirmed in Gyeonggi Province and one in Seoul.

The death toll remained at 240 for the third consecutive day, with no report of new deaths for the past two days.

On Friday, there was no coronavirus-related death reported here for the first time in 39 days.

The number of those who were fully cured rose by 134 to 8,635.

A total of 595,161 people have taken coronavirus tests so far, and 9,259 are waiting for the results.

“The recovery rate (for patients) has exceeded 80 percent and the number of patients in isolation has fallen below 2,000, which means that the situations are being managed on a level that our quarantine system can handle,” Yoon Tae-ho, a health ministry official, said at a press briefing in Seoul.

But he pointed out that it’s still too early to be at ease.

“Because a single super-spreader can cause a considerable size of patients at anytime, we are fully geared up for a resilient response,” he added.

In particular, religious groups are expected to resume gatherings this weekend as the government has relaxed some social-distancing rules.

“This weekend, many religious facilities appear to be planning indoor services that they have refrained so far from having,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said at an interagency meeting on the coronavirus response.

He warned that anyone can become a “quiet spreader and asked participants to thoroughly abide by quarantine guidelines, which includes wearing masks and avoiding separate group meetings or meals.

South Korea is also set to mark a series of national holidays: Buddha’s Birthday on April 30, May Day on May 1 and Children’s Day on May 5.

Many people are expected to travel or engage in various private meetings and events during the holidays, which would leave them exposed to higher risk of contact with those with the virus.

Speaking at a separate briefing at the KCDC headquarters in Osong, North Chungcheong Province, another senior health official, Kwon Joon-wook, said lowering the quarantine guard is the biggest risk factor in the COVID-19 response.

“Developing treatments and vaccines is tough,” he added. “There’s no COVID-19 treatment yet with a proven curative effect.”

On concerns about possible infections related to the in-person ballots by tens of millions of South Koreans in the April 15 general elections, Kwon said there have been no confirmed cases so far.

If South Korea gets through next week with no election-related cases, it would set a quarantine precedent at home and abroad, given the incubation period known to be up to two weeks, according to Kwon.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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