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(3rd D) New virus cases again over 30, imported cases still on high plateau

All News 23:00 August 04, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details of cases tied to mosque, additional death in paras 10-11, 20)

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 34 more cases of the new coronavirus Tuesday, with the number of imported cases almost twice that of local infections, health authorities said.

The new cases -- 21 imported cases and 13 local infections -- raised South Korea's total cases of COVID-19 to 14,423, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The number of new COVID-19 cases had been in the 30s since Friday, when South Korea reported 36 new virus cases. The number fell to 31 on Saturday, 30 on Sunday and 23 on Monday.

Pedestrians walk in front of a coffee shop in southern Seoul on Aug. 3, 2020, where at least 10 COVID-19 patients have been confirmed to have been infected. (Yonhap)

Of the local infections, Gyeonggi Province surrounding Seoul accounted for the largest share with 11, followed by Seoul with nine and the southern city of Gwangju with two, the KCDC said.

The number of daily new local cases was in the single digits for the past three days, with eight on Saturday, eight on Sunday and three on Monday.

A total of 12 cases have been confirmed at a coffee shop and a restaurant, both of them located in southern Seoul, as of Tuesday, up two from a day earlier, the authorities said.

The KCDC said the people at the coffee shop and the restaurant did not properly wear facial masks during their stay at the place.

One more solider tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of infections in connection to a military unit in Pocheon, some 45 kilometers north of Seoul, to 22, the KCDC said.

Of the imported cases, seven were South Koreans and 14 foreigners. Seven of them tested positive for the virus in the screening process at either an airport or a seaport, while 14 others were confirmed to have the virus while under self-quarantine, according to the public health agency.

Of the cases involving foreign nationals, health authorities in North Chungcheong Province are scrambling to check over 300 people who attended an Islamic service on Friday. Six Uzbeks confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 this week attended the gathering, fueling concerns of community spread.

Quarantine officials said attendees may not have followed social distancing rules and they may have eaten during the service, thereby raising the risk of spread.

Health authorities have said that imported cases may continue given the virus resurgence globally.

The accumulated number of imported cases reached 2,482 in South Korea.

Since July 13, South Korea has applied on-board quarantine inspections on entrants from six high-risk countries -- Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and Uzbekistan.

They must submit a certificate showing they have tested negative for COVID-19 over the past 48 hours and must retest for the virus at local clinics within three days of arrival.

A total of 512 entrants from the six countries have submitted certificates, the KCDC said. Twenty-two of them, however, had since been confirmed to have contracted the virus.

Meanwhile, a total of 108 coronavirus patients in critical condition in 33 hospitals across the country have been administered with remdesivir, an experimental drug conventionally used for Ebola.

The medication developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. started to be supplied to treat COVID-19 patients here in early July.

Four of them, however, have shown abnormal responses to the medication, the authorities said, adding that further probes will be conducted.

The country reported no additional deaths, with the death toll remaining at 301, according to the KCDC, although one 90-year-old woman died during the day after being diagnosed with the virus last month. The fatality will be reflected in Wednesday's tally.

The KCDC said South Korea's fatality rate of people infected with the virus was 2.09 percent.

The number of patients fully cured of the virus reached 13,352, up 72 from the previous day.

South Korea has carried out 1,579,757 tests since Jan. 3.

City government officials of the southern city of Gwangju hold signs urging people to wear face masks on Aug. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr
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