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(2nd LD) New virus cases stay below 100, but gov't remains cautious against possible rebound after holiday

All News 14:55 October 02, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info, comments in paras 12, 15-18)

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 63 more cases of the novel coronavirus Friday, posting a double-digit daily growth for the second day in a row, while health authorities remain vigilant against possible mass infections during the Chuseok holiday this week.

The country added 63 more COVID-19 cases, including 53 local infections, bringing the total caseload to 23,952, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

People get tested for the novel coronavirus at a test center in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Oct. 1, 2020, in this photo provided by Seongnam City. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The daily new cases remained below the 100 mark for the second consecutive day, following the previous day's 77 infections.

As South Korea has been enjoying the five-day Chuseok holiday, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, since Wednesday, the government is not letting down its guard in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

The daily new infections peaked at 441 on Aug. 27, days after cluster infections were found to be linked to a Seoul church and an anti-government rally in the capital on Aug. 15.

With tightened social distancing imposed on the greater Seoul area for weeks, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases has been hovering around 100 since early September.

The 38 new cases Tuesday marked the lowest since Aug. 11, when the country reported 34 additional infections.

A hospital in northern Seoul is closed on Sept. 30, 2020, after 28 patients tested positive for the novel coronavirus there. (Yonhap)

Health authorities are worried that increased mobility from hometown visits and family gatherings, which are typical on the Chuseok holiday, may lead to a surge in COVID-19 as experienced after the summer vacation season.

The country also has a break from Oct. 9-11, prompting the government to designate Monday to Oct. 11 as a special period for strengthened virus curbs to better contain local transmissions.

People are asked to stay at home during the holidays, with the middle Level 2 social distancing guidelines imposed over the two-week period.

Under the current requirements, indoor meetings of 10 or more people are prohibited, while 100 or more people are banned from having outdoor events.

"We kindly ask people to refrain from having meetings with close friends or attending religious and public events during the holiday," KCDA Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said in a press briefing.

People stand in line at a test center in central Seoul on Oct. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, Seoul reported nine new virus cases Friday, and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province added 19, according to the KDCA.

The southeastern port city of Busan had 16 more new cases, while four cases each came from Incheon and North Gyeongsang Province.

Sporadic cluster infections continued to pop up across the nation.

Two more patients were traced to a residential building in southern Seoul, raising the total to 55, while cases related to a medical clinic in western Seoul added two to 12.

A total of 11 people tested positive for the coronavirus at a sauna in Busan.

The portion of untraceable cases accounted for 18.6 percent of the total reported over the past two weeks.

The domestic departure terminal of Jeju International Airport is crowded with travelers on Oct. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

The country also reported 10 new imported cases, remaining unchanged from a day earlier, bringing the total caseload to 3,247, the KDCA said.

Seven patients from Asian countries other than mainland China, and three people came from Europe.

On Friday, one additional death was reported, raising the death toll to 416. The fatality rate was 1.74 percent.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries increased to 21,733, up 67 from the previous day.

The number of COVID-19 patients in serious or critical condition stood at 107 on Friday, according to the authorities.

People visit Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on the Chuseok holiday on Oct. 1, 2020. (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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