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S. Korea adds 15 new virus cases amid respite from club infections

All News 10:30 May 18, 2020

SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea added 15 new cases of the coronavirus Monday as the country saw clear signs of a slowdown in nightclub-linked infections.

The new cases, detected Sunday, brought the country's total to 11,065, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Five of them were local infections.

Concerns had been rising over a second wave of infections after a group of clubgoers tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after the country decided to ease social distancing.

Around 5,500 people were estimated to have visited affected clubs in Seoul's nightlife neighborhood of Itaewon between April 24 and May 6, but health authorities remain vigilant over secondary and tertiary transmission of the virus.

Health authorities said they have carried out more than 61,000 tests on people affected by the Itaewon-linked infections so far.

A cyclist passes a sculpture wearing a protective mask in Daegu, around 300 kilometers south of Seoul, in this photo provided by the Dalseo district of the city on May 17, 2020. The project is aimed at raising awareness of the coronavirus pandemic. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

While South Korea believes it has brought Itaewon-linked infections under control, health authorities remain alert over what they call "hidden spreaders."

South Korea reported one new death, raising the death toll to 263.

The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 9,904, up 16 from the previous day.

Imported cases, which used to be the biggest threat for South Korea's quarantine operations before infections involving clubbers surfaced, rose by 10 to reach 1,177.

On May 6, the country switched to "everyday life quarantine" and the normalization of public facilities and other business establishments, under the condition they follow basic sanitation measures. The outbreak in Itaewon, however, led to restrictions on karaoke establishments, bars, and clubs.

High school seniors will return to classrooms starting Wednesday, a week later than earlier scheduled, and students of other grades will gradually resume school by June 8.


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