(ATTN: UPDATES with more details, additional information in paras 9, 15-20; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 94 more cases of new coronavirus infections Saturday, one day after its total breached the 10,000 mark.
The 94 additional cases put the total at 10,156, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The country's death toll came to 177, with three more coronavirus deaths added Friday.
More than half of all fatalities here so far have involved patients aged 80 years or older, according to the KCDC.
Of 94 new cases, 27 were reported in the southeastern city of Daegu, which became the epicenter of the virus following a mass infection of people linked to a church of the Shincheonji religious sect in February.
So far, 6,761 people have been diagnosed with the respiratory disease in the city located some 300 kilometers from Seoul, with an additional 1,310 people diagnosed with the virus in the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province.
Seoul saw its total infection cases rise by 22 to 528 on Friday, with Gyeonggi Province surrounding the capital city also reporting 23 new cases, bringing its total to 562.
The country also continued to see a rise in the number of imported cases, with 41 new infection cases detected in people coming from abroad.
The total number of imported cases now stands at 688, according to the KCDC. Of them, 57 were foreigners.
South Korea enhanced its screening of people arriving from other countries amid a steady increase in the number of imported cases.
It has since Wednesday asked all those arriving from other countries to place themselves under two-week self-quarantine.
Visitors without a local address are allowed 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.
As of Saturday, South Korea has clinically tested 455,032 people for COVID-19.
Of the total 10,156 diagnosed, 6,325 people have so far been released after full recoveries, up 304 from Friday, according to the KCDC.
Amid a steady decline in the number of daily infection cases, Seoul was expected to extend its social distancing drive that has forced all major public facilities to shut down since March 22.
"We have no choice but to continue an intense social distancing drive for some time in the future," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a meeting held earlier in the day to discuss measures against the new coronavirus outbreak.
The government has three times postponed the start of the new school year to prevent mass infections in schools.
The social distancing campaign prohibits all mass gatherings, including church services, while also advising people to voluntarily keep their distance from others by staying home unless necessary.
"It is better to prevent infection than being cured after infection, and enduring the necessary cost is better than having to face unendurable chaos," the prime minister said.
Details of the latest disease prevention measures were set to be released later in the day.
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