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Concerns over new infections grip capital area

All News 11:19 March 30, 2020

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- New infections reported in the wider Seoul area surpassed those in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak here, on Monday, spurring concerns over transmission in the capital area that is home to half of the South Korean population.

New COVID-19 infections reported in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon totaled 31, bringing the total number of cases in the metropolitan area to 947, according to data compiled by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

This marked the second straight day that the number of new infections in the capital surpassed that in the southeastern city of Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, where nearly 8,000 cases have been reported.

A total of 25 cases were reported in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, according to the KCDC data. The two areas also reported 25 new cases the previous day, while 42 cases were reported in the capital area.

Health authorities guide passengers arriving from London and Frankfurt at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on March 29, 2020. (Yonhap)

A majority of the recent cases reported in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, a port city just west of Seoul, are believed to be imported cases, as South Koreans living abroad flocked back to their home country to evade the contagious virus.

Around 70 percent of those who recently returned to the country are based in the wider Seoul metropolitan area, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Friday, stressing that containing the virus in the area would decide "winning or losing" the fight against the virus.

Manmin Central Church in the southwestern Seoul ward of Guro has also emerged as a new infection hot spot, with the fringe religious church believed to have held group meetings despite the government's social distancing advisory.

South Korea has reported 9,661 coronavirus cases so far, according to the KCDC data. A total of 158 have died, and 5,228 have been released after recovery.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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