SEOUL, South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases rose by double digits for the fourth straight day Sunday, yet health authorities are still on alert over a possible spike in infections amid back-to-back holidays. The country added 58 more COVID-19 cases, including 46 local infections, raising the total caseload to 24,606, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Daily infections bounced back to 114 on Wednesday after rising by double digits the previous six days. But the number has been below 100 since Thursday. Health authorities have warned that the country could see an uptick in COVID-19 cases after the five-day Chuseok holiday that ran through last Sunday and another three-day break from Friday to Sunday when Hangeul Day, which celebrates the Korean alphabet, is combined with the weekend. The authorities plan to announce a decision later in the day on whether to adjust their social distancing guidelines, currently at the second-highest level of a three-tier system. Of the newly identified local infections, 19 cases were reported in Seoul and 18 cases in Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital. Incheon, west of Seoul, reported one additional case. The number of newly identified imported cases came to 12, bringing the country’s total to 3,373. There were two additional deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 432. The fatality rate was 1.76 percent. The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 22,693, up 69 from the previous day. The country has carried out 2,410,483 coronavirus tests since Jan. 3. Daily infections peaked at 441 on Aug. 27, days after cluster infections were found to be linked to a Seoul church and an anti-government rally in the capital on Liberation Day on Aug. 15. With tightened social distancing imposed on the greater Seoul area for weeks, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases has been hovering around 100 since early September. Source: Yonhap News Agency

SEOUL, South Korea has decided to lower the tough virus curbs in place across the country since late August on views that the numbers of cases are slowing, the country’s prime minister said Sunday.
The country designated two weeks ending that day as a special period for an intensive antivirus campaign due to concerns that new virus cases may resurge after back-to-back holidays, including a three-day Chuseok fall harvest holiday finish.
The country imposed the Level 2 social distancing measures, the second-highest on a three-tier system, in late August as cases spiked following a holiday and a mass rally that took place in central Seoul.
“The average number of local infections fell to less than 60 on a daily basis over the past two weeks and the reproduction rate declined to ‘below 1,’ which led us to judge that the spread is being contained,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters meeting.
Chung said the government has decided to lower the social distancing measure to Level 1 considering the negative impact stronger measures have had on people’s sentiment and the domestic economy.
The prime minister, however, said the government will selectively retain tougher measures, such as those against door-to-door sales.
Some measures will remain in place for the greater Seoul area where a fall in new cases has been relatively slow, Chung said, adding that seating arrangements based on social distancing will stay at cafes and restaurants.
The prime minister thanked the public for following anti-virus measures and urged them to always wear masks and refrain from group meetings and trips.
South Korea’s new virus cases showed signs of slowing on the back of enhanced restrictions. But sporadic cluster infections and untraceable cases have continued to strain the country’s virus fight.
The country added 58 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, increasing by double digits for the fourth straight day.
With tightened social distancing imposed on the greater Seoul area for weeks, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases has been hovering around 100 since early September.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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