Coronavirus cases fall below 500 amid resurgence concerns after eased distancing rules

SEOUL, South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell back below 500 on Saturday as sporadic infections continued to be reported amid worries over a potential resurgence after the government eased social distancing rules earlier this week.

The country reported 448 more COVID-19 cases, including 416 local infections, raising the total caseload to 86,576, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. The latest caseload was down from the previous day's 561.

The country added 3 more deaths, raising the total to 1,553.

The daily infection figure remained in the 300s during the latter part of the Lunar New Year holiday that ended on Sunday due mainly to less testing.

However, it bounced back to the 600s on Wednesday and Thursday, sparking concerns of a potential virus resurgence especially after the government eased social distancing rules for small shops on Monday.

South Korea is now making preparations to start inoculating its people.

On Friday, the government carried out a final mock drill for its planned transport of AstraZeneca's vaccines ahead of the beginning of the inoculation program next Friday.

Of the 416 locally transmitted cases, 119 cases were reported in Seoul and 161 in the surrounding Gyeonggi Province. Incheon, 40 km west of Seoul, had 35 new cases.

The number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients was 156, up 3 from the previous day.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 77,083, up 570 from a day earlier.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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