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(LEAD) New virus cases stay below 200 for 4th day; cluster infections still worrisome

All News 10:07 September 06, 2020

ATTN: (CHANGES lead; ADDS more info in paras 2-10)
By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 167 cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, marking the fourth straight day of under 200 new infections, though health authorities remain vigilant over sporadic cluster outbreaks.

Of the total, 152 were local infections and a majority of them came from the greater Seoul area, including 63 in Seoul and 45 in the surrounding Gyeonggi Province. Incheon, west of Seoul, also reported nine cases, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The country's total caseload rose to 21,177.

South Korea has been posting triple-digit rises in COVID-19 cases for more than three weeks due to cluster infections mostly tied to a slew of churches and an anti-government rally in central Seoul in mid-August.

After keeping the new cases of COVID-19 in two-digit figures for more than five months, South Korea added more than 100 cases on Aug. 14 before the number shot up to 441 on Aug. 27. It then fell below 300 last Sunday.

This file photo, taken on Sept. 5, 2020, shows a COVID-19 screening clinic in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Other major municipalities also reported additional infections, with the southwestern city of Gwangju adding seven cases and the central city of Daejeon confirming five more cases.

So far, more than 1,100 cases have been traced to the Sarang Jeil Church in northern Seoul -- a hotbed of the recent spike in new infections.

Also more than 500 patients have been reported from the Aug. 15 demonstration in central Seoul.

South Korea on Friday announced that it decided to extend tougher anti-virus curbs on restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops in the greater Seoul area for another week, as sporadic cluster infections and untraceable cases still loom.

Since last Sunday, the country has been limiting operations of restaurants, bakeries and franchise coffee chains in the Seoul metropolitan area under the so-called Level 2.5 social distancing guidelines, while implementing Level 2 measures across the country since mid-August.

The number of newly identified imported cases stood at 15, with four of them detected at quarantine checkpoints at airports and harbors. The country's total number of imported cases is now at 2,892.

South Korea reported one more death from the coronavirus, raising the death toll to 334. The country's virus fatality rate is now at 1.58 percent.

But the country could experience more deaths from the virus as the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients reached 163, up four from a day earlier.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 16,146, up 137 from the previous day, with 4,697 people isolated for COVID-19 treatment, up 29 from a day ago.


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