(2nd LD) S. Korea sees no new local infection cases for 2nd day
(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with additional details, more information, minor changes in paras 2-5, 13-16)
SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported three more cases of the new coronavirus Tuesday, but all from other countries with no locally transmitted cases.
The three imported cases put the total number of infection cases here at 10,804, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The country has reported no locally transmitted cases for two consecutive days.
The three new cases also mark the lowest daily figure in 77 days since Feb. 18 when the country reported two new cases of COVID-19.
Also, South Korea has now reported fewer than 10 new infection cases per day for six consecutive days.
With the possible slowdown in the spread of the disease here, the Seoul government has decided to relax its monthslong social distancing campaign.
School will begin opening to students in phases next Wednesday, while the government will shift its social distancing campaign to what it calls an "everyday-life quarantine scheme" this week.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo, however, said the move does not indicate an end of the outbreak.
"Social distancing in everyday life does not mean the termination of COVID-19," Park said in a Seoul meeting held earlier Tuesday. "It means each and every one of the citizens is now responsible for his or her own hygiene."
So far, 9,283 patients here have been released after making full recoveries, up 66 from a day earlier, according to the KCDC.
The country's death toll came to 254, up two from Monday.
The country has so far tested 640,237 people for COVID-19. Over 96 percent, or 620,575 of them, have tested negative.
With a steady decline in the number of patients, the government plans to further reduce the number of hospitals and beds earmarked for COVID-19 patients.
It currently has 5,533 hospital beds specifically reserved for coronavirus patients, 4,649 of which are currently vacant, Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip told a daily press briefing.
The number will be reduced to 3,800, with 2,924 of them immediately available to patients.
"However, those that will be switched to beds for patients with non-transmittable diseases will immediately be redesignated if needed," Kim said.
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