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(LEAD) New cases dip below 30 again, all U.S. arrivals get virus tests

All News 10:46 April 13, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS more info from 9th para; UPDATES paras 2, 4, 6)

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Monday saw its daily number of coronavirus infections fall below 30 again as the country enforces strict social distancing to curb the pandemic.

The 25 new cases, detected Sunday and down from 32 a day ago, brought the nation's total infections to 10,537, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

It is the second time since late February that the country's new virus infections have fallen below 30 after it reported 27 new cases Friday.

Monday's new virus cases marked a sharp drop from the Feb. 29 peak of 909 new cases, according to the KCDC. The country's daily number of new virus cases has been below 50 in the last five days.

Medical workers in protective suits begin work at Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on April, 13, 2020. (Yonhap)

But health authorities remain on high alert over cluster infections at churches and hospitals, as well as new cases coming from overseas.

Of the newly reported cases, 16 cases were from overseas.

The nation's death toll from the new coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, rose by three to 217, according to the KCDC.

The number of patients released from quarantine after making full recoveries reached 7,447, up 79 from a day earlier.

The southeastern city of Daegu, the nation's worst virus-hit region, added three new cases. Its surrounding North Gyeongsang Province reported four new cases.

Other major provinces and cities also reported infections, with Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province adding eight and three new cases, respectively.

The country also detected six new cases coming from overseas at border checkpoints. The total number of imported cases is now at 929.

Medical workers, with adhesive bandages on their brows and noses to prevent abrasions, wear protective gear for a shift that involves taking care of COVID-19 patients at Dongsan Hospital in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on April 13, 2020. (Yonhap)

Since April 1, South Korea has enforced mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all travelers coming from overseas to better contain imported cases.

Starting Monday, all arrivals from the United States have to be tested for COVID-19. Previously, only those with symptoms had undergone tests.

Seeking to reduce the daily number of new infections to below 50, South Korea has extended strict guidelines on social distancing by two weeks to Sunday.

South Korea has vowed to show no leniency toward those who breach quarantine rules. Violators could face up to one year in jail or a fine of up to 10 million won (US$8,200), and they will be asked to wear electronic wristbands for the rest of their quarantine period. Foreigners could be deported if they break quarantine rules.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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