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(2nd LD) S. Korea reports 94 more coronavirus infection cases, total now at 10,156

All News 14:48 April 04, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional information, reports of government extending its social distancing campaign in paras 15-24)

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.

(2nd LD) S. Korea reports 94 more coronavirus infection cases, total now at 10,156 - 1

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.

Forty-nine virus patients were in critical condition as of Saturday, while 31 others were in "serious" condition, according to the KCDC.

The center said it has added smokers to the list of high-risk groups in dealing with the respiratory disease.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (2nd from R) speaks in a meeting held in Seoul on April 4, 2020, to discuss government measures against the spread of the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, the government said it has decided to extend its social distancing drive for another two weeks until April 19.

"The second social distancing campaign seeks to enhance screening of people arriving from overseas countries while better managing high-risk facilities such as nursing homes, mental hospitals and churches," Health Minister Park Neung-hoo told a press briefing.

The government-initiated campaign was first introduced on March 22. It prohibits mass gatherings while also advising people to voluntarily keep their distance from others whenever possible.

As of Saturday, 82.7 percent of all infection cases here were related to cluster infections, according to the KCDC.

"We have no choice but to continue an intense social distancing drive for some time in the future," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said earlier in a government meeting that led to the two-week extension of the social distancing drive.

The government postponed the start of the new school year for a third time this week.

Students in grades 9 and 12 will return to school Thursday but only via online classes. The rest will follow suit on April 16, also through online classes.

"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 has said.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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