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Local virus cases on high plateau due to rising church-traced infections

All News 11:13 August 09, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases hovered above 30 for the second straight day on Sunday, as local infections traced to religious gatherings continued to rise amid a fall in cases coming in from overseas.

The country identified 36 virus cases, including 30 local infections, raising the total caseload to 14,598, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The tally marked a fall from 43 additional cases reported Saturday.

The Seoul metropolitan area has accounted for most of the newly added virus cases this month.

Of the locally transmitted cases, 25 were reported in densely populated Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas, where around half of the country's 50-million population resides.

In particular, many cases were tied to church gatherings in Goyang, just northwest of Seoul.

Concertgoers at Olympic Park in eastern Seoul read precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infections on Aug. 7, 2020. (Yonhap)

Two churches in Goyang have emerged as an epicenter of cluster infections that have spread to a day care center in the city.

South Korea had been banning church members from having gatherings other than regular worship services amid the soaring number of related patients, but it decided to lift the regulation on July 24.

Cases coming in from overseas fell to a single digit after increasing by double-digit numbers for 43 consecutive days. Among the 6 additional cases, one was detected at a quarantine checkpoint at an airport.

The country suffered a sharp increase in the number of such cases due to South Korean workers returning home from Iraq, along with sailors from Russian ships docked at its port.

Since June, 94 seafarers from nine Russia-flagged ships docked in Busan have tested positive for COVID-19.

The country reported one more virus death, keeping the number of fatalities at 305, according to the KCDC. The fatality rate reached 2.09 percent.

The number of patients fully cured of the virus reached 13,642, up 13 from the previous day. This indicates 93.45 percent of patients reported here have recovered.

ksnam@yna.co.kr
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