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(2nd LD) New virus cases bounce back to over 40 on surge in domestic infections

All News 22:36 August 06, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info regional cases in paras 6-7, 11, additional death in para 20)

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- The number of new daily coronavirus cases in South Korea bounced back to above 40 on Thursday as domestic infections climbed up.

The country added 43 cases, raising the total caseload to 14,499, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

It marked the first time since July 29 that the daily rise in COVID-19 cases reached above 40.

Of the newly identified cases, 23 were domestic infections, reaching its highest level since July 25. The latest tally marked an uptick from 13 cases Tuesday and 15 cases Wednesday.

Locally transmitted cases also outnumbered imported cases for the first time in 13 days.

Of the local transmissions, roughly half were from the greater Seoul area -- with close to 10 in Seoul and around a dozen for Gyeonggi Province. The southeastern port city of Busan reported three more COVID-19 cases.

The capital city has reported 1,644 confirmed coronavirus cases, while neighboring Incheon had 387.

In this photo, taken by the Joint Press Corps on Aug. 5, 2020, a health worker checks the body temperature of an arrival at a shelter in Incheon. (Yonhap)

Health authorities are on high alert over virus outbreaks at churches, offices and restaurants.

A total of 15 cases have been traced to a coffee shop and a restaurant, both of them located in southern Seoul, up two from a day earlier, the KCDC said.

One more patient was traced to a church in the eastern Seoul ward of Songpa, bringing total infections from the church to 22, the KCDC added.

Health authorities said 336 people who attended an Islamic festival in Cheongju, where six virus patients were confirmed Wednesday, tested negative for COVID-19. Cheongju is located some 130 kilometers south of Seoul, with city health officials taking flak for not ensuring that participants at the gathering followed strict social distancing rules, like keeping their masks on at all times and eating.

"Due to heavy rain, people tend to spend more time indoors, and it is also difficult to ventilate, which increases infection risks," Kwon Jun-wook, a senior health official, said at a briefing. "However, we must keep up virus prevention measures."

Infections coming in from overseas have risen steadily by double-digit numbers for 42 consecutive days.

Of the 20 newly reported imported cases, six were detected at quarantine checkpoints at ports and airports.

By country, five cases were from the United States, followed by Russia with four and Uzbekistan with two.

The total number of imported cases in the country is now at 2,520.

This photo, taken on Aug. 6, 2020, shows the Young Jin 607 fishing vessel docked at Gamcheon Port in Busan. Health authorities said four sailors, including the ship's captain, have tested positive for COVID-19. (Yonhap)

In Busan, health authorities reported two more virus-infected Russian sailors. Since June, 94 seafarers from nine Russia-flagged ships docked in Busan have tested positive for COVID-19.

The KCDC said a total of 111 coronavirus patients in critical condition in 34 hospitals across the country have been administered with remdesivir, an experimental drug conventionally used for Ebola.

For the development of blood plasma-based treatments, 1,158 people who fully recovered from the virus have expressed their willingness to donate their blood plasma, according to the KCDC. Among them, health authorities said they have collected samples of plasma from 772 people.

The country reported no additional deaths, keeping the number of fatalities at 302, with the mortality rate reaching 2.08 percent, according to the KCDC. It, however, confirmed that one person in her 90s died after having been diagnosed with the illness last month. The death will be reflected in the official tally released on Friday.

The number of patients fully cured of the virus reached 13,501, up 95 from the previous day, while 696 are currently under treatment, down 52 from a day earlier.

South Korea has carried out 1,606,487 tests since Jan. 3.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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