New virus cases above 100 for 4th day, cluster infections in focus

SEOUL– South Korea’s new coronavirus cases rose by triple digits for the fourth straight day Saturday as cluster infections across the country continued to pile up amid eased social distancing measures.

The country added 127 more COVID-19 cases, including 96 domestic infections, raising the total caseload to 26,511, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

It marked a rise from 103 new cases reported Wednesday, 125 on Thursday and 114 on Friday, it said.
The latest upticks were mostly traced to senior nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities, but sporadic group infections continued to rise at small gatherings, including family meetings not only in the greater Seoul area but across the country.

Since the country eased the social distancing scheme by one notch to the lowest level of a three-tier system on Oct. 12, the daily figures have shown ups and downs, hovering around 100.

Health authorities warned that the country’s virus cases may further pile up on a potential resurgence in virus infections as people travel to enjoy autumn vacations.

Halloween, which falls on Saturday, is also a major concern for health authorities as people could gather at entertainment facilities, potential hotbeds for cluster infections.

The country reported more than 270 COVID-19 cases tied to clubs in the nightlife district of Itaewon in western Seoul in early May.

Of the newly identified local infections Friday, 51 cases were reported in Seoul, 23 cases in Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital and three cases in Incheon, west of Seoul. The greater Seoul area is home to around half of the nation’s 51.6 million population.

Other municipalities reported new infections, with the country’s southeastern city of Daegu adding nine cases and the southern port city of Busan adding two cases.

Virus cases traced to a nursing facility in Dongdaemun Ward in Seoul added eight new cases, it said.

A sauna in the Gangnam Ward of Seoul reported five more patients as of noon Thursday, raising the total caseload to 33.

A hospital in Songpa Ward in Seoul had eight more patients, bringing the total number to nine, the authorities said.

Cases traced to a fabric plant in Namyangju, northeast of Seoul, reached 28, up six from the previous day. The facility was put under cohort isolation.

Cases at a hospital in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, reached 150, up three from a day earlier.

The country, meanwhile, added 31 imported cases, up from 21 a day earlier, the KDCA said. Six cases came from the United States, two from Europe and 23 from Asia, excluding China.

South Korea reported one additional death, raising the death toll to 464. The fatality rate was 1.75 percent.

The number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients came to 54 as of midnight, up from 51 the previous day.

KDCA said a total of 715 COVID-19 patients in critical condition have been given remdesivir, an experimental drug conventionally used for Ebola.

The medication developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. started to be supplied to treat COVID-19 patients here in early August.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 24,311, up 84 from the previous day.

The country has carried out 2,624,492 coronavirus tests since Jan. 3, including 12,261 tests the previous day.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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