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(LEAD) S. Korea reports fewer than 15 new infections for 9th day

All News 11:35 April 26, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details, remarks; CHANGES headline)

SEOUL, April 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported fewer than 15 new daily infections of the new coronavirus for the ninth day in a row Sunday, with health officials calling for people to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The 10 new cases, which were detected Saturday, brought the nation's total infections to 10,728, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC)

South Korea has recorded around 10 or fewer daily new cases since April 18, a sharp drop from the Feb. 29 peak of 909. But health authorities remain on high alert over cluster infections at churches and hospitals, as well as new cases coming from overseas.

Applicants for an insurance sales license take a test, postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, on the athletics field of Myeonggi College campus in Seoul on April 25, 2020. (Yonhap)

The nation's death toll from the coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, rose by two to 242, according to the KCDC. In total, 8,717 people in South Korea have recovered from the virus.

The total number of cases reported in Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province reached 6,846 and 1,364, respectively.

Other major provinces and cities also reported infections, with Busan and Gyeonggi Province adding one and six new cases, respectively.

The country also detected one new case coming from overseas at border checkpoints, raising the country's total number of imported cases to 1,037.

Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip, in an interview with Yonhap News Agency, said a loosening attitude on social distancing guidelines is the biggest enemy in combating the coronavirus pandemic, as tens of thousands of people plan to visit the southern resort island of Jeju during the holiday starting later this month.

South Korea eased some restrictions in the guidelines last Sunday, but officials have warned that a new wave of infections could come at anytime because the virus can spread through people who have no symptoms.

During the upcoming holiday period between Thursday and May 5, about 180,000 people are estimated to visit Jeju Island, the nation's popular tourist destination with its beaches and ancient volcanic cones, Kim said.

"In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the biggest dangerous factor is a loosening social attitude," Kim said.

"An increase in outdoor activities could become the kindling for a large-scale transmission," Kim said, urging people to practice social distancing guidelines until May 5.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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