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(2nd LD) S. Korea's new virus cases drop to 27, continuing downward trend

All Headlines 11:46 May 31, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline; CLARIFIES lead, ADDS more info in 5th para, 2nd photo)
By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 27 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, the lowest since a logistics center-linked cluster infection brought the daily new cases to nearly a two-month high, as health officials kept up efforts to prevent similar collective infections.

The new cases, 15 of them local infections, raised South Korea's total coronavirus caseload to 11,468, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

It marks the first time in five days that the daily number of virus cases was below 30. The daily rise of new virus cases reached nearly a two month-high of 79 on Thursday, then declined to 58 Friday and 39 Saturday.

But health authorities remain on high alert amid concerns recent cluster infections could develop into another wave of massive infections amid school reopenings.

Health workers disinfect a lodging facility in Jeju on May 31, 2020, after a virus patient visited the building. (Yonhap)

Of the new cases, six were in Seoul. Nearby Gyeonggi Province and Incheon accounted for 12 and three cases, respectively.

A distribution facility run by e-commerce leader Coupang Inc. in Bucheon, just west of Seoul, has emerged as a cluster infection as health authorities have been grappling with mass infections tied to nightclubs and bars in Seoul's nightlife neighborhood of Itaewon earlier this month.

So far, more than 100 cases have been traced to the distribution center since the first patient was confirmed on May 23, according to the KCDC.

The country reported one additional death, bringing the total death toll at 270. The fatality rate was 2.35 percent.

The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 10,405, up seven from the previous day, with 793 people currently under treatment.

The resurgence in new virus cases in recent days has put South Korea's "everyday life quarantine" scheme, which enables citizens to carry out social and economic activities under quarantine rules, in jeopardy.

There has been speculation that the country may return to its strict social distancing scheme. The country Thursday opted to impose a tighter virus prevention mesures in the capital and densely populated metropolitan area over the next two weeks through June 14.

The entrance to a public library in Goyang, north of Seoul, is closed on May 31, 2020, as state-run facilities, such as libraries and museums, in Seoul and its surrounding areas suspended operations for two weeks since last Friday due to a recent resurgence in new coronavirus cases. (Yonhap)(END)


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