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New daily virus cases spike to over 50 on church-linked infections

National 10:19 August 12, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases spiked to above 50 on Wednesday, as an uptick in church-traced infections shows no signs of a letup.

The country identified an additional 54 virus cases, including 35 local infections, raising the total caseload to 14,714, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

It marked the first time since July 26 that the daily new COVID-19 cases hovered above 50. The number had remained between 20 and 40 this month.

Of the locally transmitted cases, 13 were reported in Seoul and 19 others in the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, the KCDC said. The southeastern city of Busan added three more cases of COVID-19.

In this photo, taken on Aug. 11, 2020, health workers give a citizen a COVID-19 test at a makeshift clinic near Namdaemun Market in Seoul after eight merchants there tested positive for the virus. (Yonhap)

Domestic cases fell to as low as just three on Aug. 3, but sporadic cluster infections, most tied to churches in the capital area, have led to yet another flare-up of the coronavirus.

A total of 33 cases have been linked to a church in Goyang, just north of Seoul, as of Tuesday at noon. The outbreak at the church has also led to infections at the Namdaemun Market in central Seoul and a day care center in Goyang.

A total of 22 cases have been traced to another church in Goyang, and 12 cases have been also identified at a church in Gimpo, just west of Seoul.

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

South Korea reported 19 imported cases. The daily rise in imported cases stayed at between 10 and 20 for the third straight day.

Eight of them tested positive for the virus in the screening process at either an airport or a seaport, while 11 others were tested positive for the virus while under self-quarantine, according to the public health agency.

The total number of imported cases is now at 2,591.

The country reported no new virus deaths for the third consecutive day, keeping the number of fatalities at 305, according to the KCDC. The fatality rate reached 2.07 percent.

The number of patients fully cured of the virus reached 13,786, up 57 from the previous day.

South Korea has carried out 1,646,652 COVID-19 tests since Jan. 3.

khj@yna.co.kr
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