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S. Korea reports 516 new virus cases, total now at 5,328

All News 10:26 March 04, 2020

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 516 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the nation's total number of infections to 5,328, with the outbreak in the southeastern city of Daegu, the hotspot here, showing little sign of a slowdown.

So far, 32 people, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses, have died in South Korea from the respiratory virus that emerged in China late last year, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

About 60 percent of confirmed cases have been linked to a branch of the Shincheonji religious sect in Daegu, the country's fourth-largest city, with a population of 2.5 million.

However, health authorities have shifted their focus to testing ordinary citizens in Daegu, citing an alarming level of community spread.

A group of 75 newly commissioned nurse officers arrive at their accommodation in coronavirus-hit Daegu on March 3, 2020, right after their commencement ceremony at Korea Armed Forces Nursing Academy in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Of the 516 new cases, which were detected on Tuesday, 405 are in Daegu and 89 are in neighboring North Gyeongsang Province, the two epicenters of the virus outbreak here, the KCDC said.

Other major provinces and cities have also reported some infections, with Gyeonggi Province reporting seven additional cases.

Since raising the virus alert level to "red," the highest level, on Feb. 23, health authorities have focused on halting the spread of the virus in Daegu and North Gyeongsang.

According to the central government and Daegu city, about 2,300 confirmed cases in Daegu are tied to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. About 11,000 ordinary citizens there with no connection to Shincheonji have undergone tests and 1,300 have tested positive for the virus.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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