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(2nd LD) S. Korea reports 105 new virus cases to total 9,583 as fully recovered cases top 5,000

All News 15:26 March 29, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details of daily update of coronavirus outbreak in paras 7-12)

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 105 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, bringing the nation's total to 9,583, but the number of fully recovered cases rose more than twice as fast as new infections to top 5,000 in total, officials said.

Of the new cases, 41 involved entrants from overseas -- 23 from Europe, 14 from the Americas and four from unidentified Asian countries, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Imported cases total 412, accounting for 4.3 percent of the total, it said.

Amid the stready inflow of virus cases from overseas, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said South Korea will enforce a two-week mandatory coronavirus quarantine for all entrants from overeseas starting Wednesday, regardless of their nationality.

The death toll rose by eight to 152, it said.

South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province -- the nation's two worst-affected regions -- reported 25 of the 105 new cases.

Medical professionals wearing protective gear are seen walking into a hospital in South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu on March 27, 2020. (Yonhap)

An additional 222 patients have been released following full recovery, bringing the number of total cured people to 5,033, the KCDC said.

The KCDC said South Korea's cure rate for people infected with the virus is 52.5 percent, an achievement that South Korean officials hailed in their fight against the contagious respiratory illness.

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

The KCDC said six more members of Manmin Central Church in Seoul were infected with the coronavirus, bringing the total number of COVID-19 patients at the church to 13.

Last year, the church's founder, Rev. Lee Jae-rock, known as a cult leader, was sentenced to 16 years in prison by the Supreme Court on charges of rapes and sexual assaults against several female congregants of his church.

The KCDC asked people to refrain from religious gatherings that could cause close contact in enclosed places.

Still, several churches in Seoul went ahead with Sunday services, while other churches provided live stream services in line with the government's request.

South Korea has strengthened social distancing through April 5 to contain the spread of the virus that emerged in China late last year.

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.


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