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(2nd LD) S. Korea sees single-digit virus cases for 3rd day, urges vigilance during holiday

All News 15:12 May 01, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS KCDC chief's remarks, details in paras 8-11)

SEOUL, May 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea recorded new daily coronavirus infections in the single digits for the third day in a row Friday, but health authorities called for people to comply with social distancing guidelines during the holiday.

South Korea confirmed nine new coronavirus infections, bringing the nation's total to 10,774, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.

South Korea's coronavirus caseload has been further slowing in recent days, with the nation reporting no new domestic infections Thursday with just four imported cases.

(2nd LD) S. Korea sees single-digit virus cases for 3rd day, urges vigilance during holiday - 1

Of the nine new cases, eight cases are believed to come from people who came from overseas, according to the KCDC.

The nation's death toll from the coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, rose by one to 248, according to the KCDC. In total, 9,072 people in South Korea have recovered from the virus.

The country also detected four new cases coming from overseas at border checkpoints, raising the country's total number of imported cases to 1,073.

The southeastern city of Daegu, once the nation's epicenter, reported no new cases for a second day in a row.
Although South Korea has apparently managed to bring the virus under control, KCDC Director-General Jeong Eun-kyeong warned against complacency, saying, "We should always stay alert against silent spread and the following mass infections."

Jeong described the novel coronavirus as "two-faced" because it causes mild symptoms in young and healthy people but poses the risk of serious illnesses for elderly people with underlying diseases.

Jeong called for people to stay at least two meters away from others to protect themselves from catching the virus.

South Korea plans to conduct an antibody test, which could show the true extent of the coronavirus infections in the country, Jeong said, adding that a significant number of people in the nation might have recovered from the virus without knowing they were infected.

This combination photo, taken on April 29, 2020, shows an empty parking lot at Incheon airport (L), west of Seoul, while a parking lot at the domestic flight terminal of Gimpo airport in Seoul is packed with cars one day ahead of a long holiday until May 5. (Yonhap)

With new infections slowing, South Korea eased some restrictions in social distancing guidelines in mid-April. The nation is set to relax more restrictions early next week.

Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip has said 180,000 people are expected to visit the southern resort island of Jeju during a six-day holiday that began Thursday.

"We must not let down our guard to maintain hard-won gains against COVID-19," Kim said.

To better protect vulnerable people from the virus, Kim said the government will postpone crackdowns against undocumented foreign migrant workers. Health authorities will publish booklets in 16 foreign languages to let them get tested for the virus.

The government will conduct virus testing for homeless and other vulnerable people, Kim said.

Starting Wednesday, state-run museums and art centers will be opened on a limited scale, Kim said.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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