SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new virus cases fell back to below 40 on Tuesday, but a continued rise in cluster infections and imported cases put a strain on the country's efforts to contain the virus.
The country added 33 cases, including 14 local infections, raising the total caseload to 13,512, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The tally marked a sharp fall from 62 new virus cases reported Monday and 44 cases Sunday.
Imported cases emerged as yet another stumbling block in the country's virus fight, with 19 additional imported cases being reported Tuesday.
Cases coming in from overseas increased by double-digit figures for the 19th consecutive day, spawning concerns about a sustained rise in such cases.
The country reported 43 imported cases Monday, a four-month high.
Since Monday, the country has required arrivals from four high-risk nations -- Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan -- to submit a certificate showing they tested negative for the virus.
Imported cases, once the main source of virus cases here, fell to a single-digit figure early last month on the back of the country's strengthened quarantine checks at airports.
But such cases have bounced back to double-digit numbers since mid-June as global virus cases have resurged amid eased lockdowns.
Sporadic cluster infections across the country also continued to weigh on the country's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, with most tied to religious facilities and door-to-door retailers.
The densely populated Seoul and adjacent areas accounted for most of the local infections last month, but the virus outbreaks have been constantly reported in other parts of the country.
Of locally transmitted cases, 11 cases were reported in the greater Seoul area.
Cases tied to a neighborhood hospital in Gwangmyeong, south of Seoul, reached five as of noon Monday.
The southwestern city of Gwangju reported no new cases for the first time in 17 days. The city has recently emerged as a new hotbed of the virus outbreak outside of the Seoul metropolitan area.
Cases linked to a door-to-door business in Gwangju reached 140 as of noon Monday.
Two cases were reported in North Jeolla Province that sits on the country's southwestern region and one case in central North Chungcheong Province.
The KCDC said local infections recently eased somewhat in Seoul and the adjacent metropolitan areas, but cluster infections continued to rise in the central and southwestern regions.
South Korea has been harried by a rise in sporadic cluster infections in the greater Seoul area, where around half of its 52 million population lives, since it relaxed strict social distancing on May 6 on the flattened virus curve.
The country's health authorities remain jittery over another wave of virus outbreaks in the summer amid sustained rises in local infections and cases coming in from overseas.
South Korea, meanwhile, reported no additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 289. The fatality rate was 2.14 percent.
The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 12,282, up 78 from the previous day.
The country has carried out 1,420,616 tests since Jan. 3.
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