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(LEAD) S. Korea reports 4 imported virus cases with zero local infections

All News 10:39 April 30, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details throughout, photo, byline)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported four more cases of the new coronavirus Thursday, but all of them were imported ones, marking the first time in 75 days that local infections have fallen to zero.

The four new cases brought the total to 10,765.

It was the lowest daily increase in more than two months, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The figure peaked on Feb. 29 at 909.

Despite the signs of a slowdown, local health authorities remain on the alert over the ongoing holiday, when people are expected to make trips locally.

South Koreans celebrate Buddha's Birthday on Thursday, which will be followed by May Day on Friday and Children's Day on Tuesday next week.

Buddhist followers wearing protective masks attend a service at Joggye Temple in central Seoul on April 29, 2020. (Yonhap)

The nation's death toll from COVID-19 rose by one to 247.

The overall fatality rate reached 2.29 percent. The figure, however, reached 24.3 percent for patients in their 80s and above.

So far, no deaths have been reported from patients aged 29 and below.

In total, 9,059 people in South Korea have recovered from the virus, up 137 from a day earlier.

The figures indicate nearly 85 percent of COVID-19 patients in the country have been cured.

The rising number of imported cases is still a concern for South Korea. All four cases announced Thursday were imported, raising the country's total number of such cases to 1,065. More than 90 percent of the patients were South Korean nationals.

Daegu, the nation's worst virus-hit region located 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, added no new cases. The city accounts for 64 percent of the nation's total COVID-19 cases.

Jeju International Airport on South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju bustles with tourists on April 29, 2020, one day ahead of a long holiday until May 5. (Yonhap)

The country with a population of around 50 million has carried out tests on 619,881 people since Jan. 3, including 5,684 a day earlier. South Korea reported its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 20.

If the number of new infections continues to plateau by the end of the holiday, South Korea plans to ease its social distancing drive.

The country eventually plans to move on to what it calls "everyday life quarantine," which means schools and workplaces will mostly return to their normal routines with precautions.

Health officials, however, earlier said they are pessimistic that things will fully go back to the days before the pandemic amid looming concerns over a second wave of infections later this year.

colin@yna.co.kr
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