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S. Korea on alert over new wave of coronavirus cases

All News 10:35 May 13, 2020

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Wednesday reported 26 more coronavirus cases following a cluster infection linked to clubs and bars in Seoul as health authorities strive to control the new flare-up of COVID-19.

The 26 new cases, with 22 of them being local infections, brought the nation's total novel coronavirus cases to 10,962, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The number of cases connected to bars and clubs in Seoul's popular nightlife district of Itaewon has surpassed 100 amid growing concerns over a possible new wave of virus infections in the country.

South Korea had been adding fewer than 15 cases of COVID-19 since mid-April, with the number of domestic infections even falling to zero at some points.

But the number of daily new cases has been hovering around 30 for the past three days after the country saw an unexpected spike in cases coming from entertainment facilities, with secondary and tertiary infections also reported.

Health workers at the National Medical Center in Seoul prepare to work on May 13, 2020. (Yonhap)

Imported cases, previously the biggest threat for South Korea's quarantine operations over recent days, are now less of a concern, although the country still reported four more such cases.

South Korea's virus death toll climbed to 259 after adding one more fatality, according to the KCDC, with the mortality rate reaching 2.36 percent.

The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 9,695, up 25 from a day earlier, bringing the nation's virus recovery rate to 88.4 percent.

After flattening the curve of COVID-19, South Korea gave the go-ahead last Wednesday to its "everyday life quarantine" scheme, the normalization of public facilities and other business establishments, under the condition they follow basic sanitation measures.

But due to the recent surge in virus cases, the country decided to push back the reopening of schools by one week, making students physically attend classes in phases starting next Wednesday.

Seoul and other municipal governments have issued an administrative order that bans gatherings at entertainment establishments, a de facto instruction that has forced club and bar owners to suspend their businesses.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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