New virus cases slow slightly, cluster infections still grip greater Seoul
SEOUL, South Korea’s new virus cases slowed slightly Thursday, but the greater Seoul area is still haunted by a steady rise in cluster infections despite toughened measures to stem further community spread in the metropolitan area.
The country added 45 new cases, including 40 local infections, raising the total caseload to 11,947, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
It marked a slight decrease from a day earlier when the figure reached 50.
All of the locally transmitted cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area.
South Korea lifted a nationwide social distancing scheme on May 6, but it enhanced measures in Seoul and the surrounding regions, as a number of infection clusters sprang up.
As of Wednesday, cases traced to a warehouse run by e-commerce leader Coupang in Bucheon, just west of Seoul, reached 144, up five from the previous day. Those linked to small churches in the metropolitan area reached 92, four more cases than a day earlier.
COVID-19 cases linked to a table tennis gym in southwestern Seoul came in at 54 a day earlier, according to the KCDC.
Cases tied to a door-to-door business establishment rose to 106 as of Thursday morning, with patients aged 60 and above accounting for nearly 70 percent.
The string of cluster infections in the densely populated area came as South Korea completed its phased reopening of schools Monday. Some 500 schools from the metropolitan area, however, delayed their reopening due to cluster infections.
This week will be a critical juncture in deciding whether to maintain the tightened distancing measures in the capital area.
Health authorities remain concerned over the rising possibility that the second wave of the pandemic may strike the country earlier than expected.
Total death tally remained unchanged at 276.
The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 10,654, up 43 from the previous day.
Source: Yonhap News Agency