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(LEAD) S. Korea reports 146 new virus cases, total now at 9,478

All Headlines 11:35 March 28, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with S. Korea's cure rate of 50 percent in 6th para; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, March 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 146 new cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday, bringing the nation's total infections to 9,478, the public health agency said.

The death toll rose by five to 144, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province -- the nation's two worst-affected regions -- reported 73 of the 146 new cases.

A passenger from the United States receives a test for the coronavirus at an outdoor facility at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on March 27, 2020. (Yonhap)

South Korea had released 4,811 fully recovered novel coronavirus patients from hospitals as of Saturday, up 283 from a day earlier, the KCDC said.

It marked the first time the number of cured people exceeded the number of quarantined patients since Jan. 20, when the virus was first detected on South Korean soil.

South Korea's cure rate for people infected with the virus is 50 percent, an achievement that South Korean officials hailed in their fight against the contagious respiratory illness.

The KCDC said 16 South Koreans from Peru are being tested for suspected symptoms of COVID-19.

The number of imported cases came to 363 out of the 9,478 total confirmed cases.

South Korea has begun implementing stricter rules on social distancing to slow the coronavirus pandemic that emerged in China late last year.

Citizens are strongly urged to stay at home, except for essential needs or jobs, with the government restricting religious gatherings, indoor sports activities, and visits to nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

South Korea has enforced a two-week quarantine period and virus tests for all long-term arrivals from Europe, regardless of symptoms, in an effort to contain imported virus cases.

Starting Friday, passengers from the United States for long-term stay are required to self-isolate at home for two weeks.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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