Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(2nd LD) Virus infections near 10,000 as cluster, imported cases keep rising

All News 11:40 April 02, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 10-13, 17)

SEOUL, April 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea again saw a slight decline in new coronavirus cases Thursday, though the country remains wary of cluster infections and imported cases.

The 89 new cases of COVID-19, detected Wednesday and down from 101 new cases a day earlier, brought the country's total cases to 9,976. It marked the 21st consecutive day that new infections have hovered around 100 or fewer additional cases, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The nation's death toll rose by four to 169, with more than half of fatalities being patients aged 80 or older.

Firefighters and rescue officials gesture to one another as they return to their bases after being mobilized to Daegu to help fight the coronavirus in the city on April 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

Of the 89 new cases of COVID-19, 21 were in Daegu, the epicenter of the virus outbreak here, following mass infections at hospitals, while the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province reported two new cases.

The total number of cases reported in Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province reached 6,725 and 1,304, respectively.

Other major provinces and cities also reported infections, with Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province adding 14 and 17 cases, respectively, as they reported cluster infections at churches and hospitals.

The country's total number of imported cases reached 601, up from 560 the previous day, with 18 new cases detected at quarantine checkpoints.

Starting Wednesday, South Korea has required all arrivals to self-quarantine for two weeks to stem new coronavirus cases coming from abroad.

Visitors without local addresses are to stay in government-designated facilities at their own expense. All people in isolation must install a mobile app that allows authorities to monitor them in real time and ensure they are following the rules.

Health authorities said 7,558 travelers arrived in South Korea on Wednesday and 235 are currently being tested for COVID-19 after showing symptoms. They added 158 people have entered government-designated shelters for isolation Wednesday.

Of the 309 South Korean citizens who returned home from virus-hit Italy on a government-chartered plane Wednesday, 11 showed symptoms upon arrival and one tested positive for COVID-19, according to Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip.

Others are currently receiving virus tests at temporary shelters.

The second chartered plane carrying some 200 evacuees from Italy will arrive in South Korea later Thursday.

Kim, however, said all 79 evacuees from Iran who arrived in South Korea on March 19 tested negative for COVID-19 in recent tests and they will be released from quarantine Friday.

South Korea has vowed no leniency toward those who breach quarantine rules. Starting Sunday, violators could face one year in jail or a fine of up to 10 million won (US$8,000). Foreigners could be expelled if they break quarantine rules.

Campaigners for Ko Min-jung, a candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, ask for voters' support while wearing masks on a street in Seoul on April 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

In the face of community spread of the virus, South Korea has been pushing for an extensive 15-day social distancing campaign since March 22.

Citizens are strongly urged to stay home, except for essential needs or jobs. The government has also strongly recommended people suspend religious gatherings, indoor sports activities and visits to nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

"As small cluster infections continue to emerge amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, people are urged to keep a social distancing campaign," Kim said. "We will unveil the future direction of our social distancing campaign later this week."

On Tuesday, the country pushed back the new school year to April 9, with the introduction of online classes. The opening of kindergartens and child care centers has been delayed indefinitely.

The KCDC said 5,828 patients have recovered as of Thursday, up from 5,567 the previous day, and 3,979 are receiving treatment, down from 4,155 the previous day.

The country has conducted virus tests on 431,743 people since Jan. 3. The virus was first detected in the country on Jan. 20.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!