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S. Korea reports 39 new virus cases amid drive to prevent new wave of infections

Welfare/Medicine 10:24 May 30, 2020

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea logged 39 more coronavirus cases Saturday due largely to cluster infections traced to a distribution center just west of Seoul, as the country strives to fend off a potential new wave of infections.

The latest infection tally, including 27 local cases, brought the total caseload to 11,441, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Saturday's daily count was down from the nearly two-month high of 79 on Thursday, but the authorities remained on high alert amid concerns recent bouts of infections could hamper efforts to return to normal after months of the grueling fight against the pandemic that has disrupted daily life and dented economic growth.

Many of the new infections were thought to be tied to a distribution facility of e-commerce leader Coupang in Bucheon, which has emerged as a focus of the authorities' containment efforts following mass infections traced to clubs and bars in tthe nightlife district of Itaewon in central Seoul.

As of noon Friday, 102 virus cases were linked to the Coupang center; the first patient was confirmed last week, the KCDC and local governments have said, urging citizens to avoid large crowds and outdoor activities over the weekend.

The cases from the logistics center have laid bare the vulnerabilities of enclosed workplaces, particularly those where social distancing protocols are loosely applied due to heavy workloads.

Alarmed by the spike in virus cases, health authorities opted to impose a tighter social distancing campaign in the densely populated metropolitan area -- Seoul and the surrounding areas -- which is home to half of the country's population of more than 50 million, over the next two weeks through June 14.

As of noon Friday, the total caseload linked to Itaewon clubs and bars reached 266, an increase of five from the previous day, according to the KCDC.

The country, meanwhile, added 12 imported cases and reported no additional deaths, with the total death toll staying at 269.

The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 10,398, up 35 from the previous day.

This photo, taken on May 29, 2020, shows medical workers collecting samples from people for new coronavirus tests at a temporary clinic in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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