New virus cases dip below 30, imported cases still in focus

SEOUL, South Korea’s new coronavirus cases fell back to below 30 on Monday as imported cases dwindled from a record high over the weekend, but the country is still on guard against a steady rise in cases coming in from overseas.
The country added 25 new cases, including 16 cases from abroad, bringing the total to 14,175, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The tally marked a sharp fall from 58 new virus cases reported Sunday and a four-month high of 113 on Saturday.
The country’s imported cases have recently surged as infections spiked among South Korean workers returning home from Iraq and Russian sailors. Imported cases have risen by double-digit daily figures for more than a month.
At least 120 South Korean workers returning from Iraq have been confirmed to have contracted the virus. Over the weekend, 75 workers who returned home on Friday tested positive for the virus. South Korea brought home hundreds of nationals from virus-hit Iraq twice in July.
Since June, South Korea has also detected 78 virus cases from eight Russian ships docked here. At least 32 Russian sailors tested positive last week and nine related cases, including a Korean repairman, have been identified.
The country said on Sunday that it will consider making foreign coronavirus patients cover the costs of their treatment here. Currently, South Korea treats locals and foreigners over COVID-19 free of charge.
Sporadic cluster infections in the Seoul metropolitan area and some cities also have harried the country’s containment efforts.
Of the newly reported cases, nine were local infections, the KCDC said. Seoul reported six cases, followed by two in Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital and one in the southeastern city of Busan.
Cases tied to a nursing home in western Seoul reached 25 as of noon Sunday.
The country shut down a section of the government complex in central Seoul over the weekend as a public servant was confirmed to be infected with the virus Friday. The KCDC conducted virus tests on 57 people who came in contacts with the patient, all of whom tested negative for COVID-19.
South Korea gave the go-ahead to all church gatherings on Friday. Over the previous two weeks, meetings other than regular worship services had been banned amid an increase in church-tied cluster infections.
Spectators were also allowed to attend sports events over the weekend on a limited basis, starting with baseball games.
The country reported one additional death, raising the death toll to 299, according to the KDCD. The fatality rate reached 2.11 percent.
The number of patients fully cured of the virus reached 12,905, up 15 from the previous day.
South Korea has carried out 1,526,974 tests since Jan. 3.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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