SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- The number of daily new coronavirus cases in South Korea hovered above 300 for a third straight day Friday due largely to cluster infections from private gatherings and medical and public facilities as the country braces for another potential wave of the pandemic.
The country added 363 more COVID-19 cases, including 320 local infections, raising the total caseload to 30,017, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The total caseload topped the 30,000 mark, 80 days after the tally surpassed 20,000 on Sept. 1. The country reported its first case on Jan. 20.
The daily caseload has stayed in the triple digits since Nov. 8, with the figure exceeding 300 for the first time since late August on Wednesday with 313 cases. The country confirmed 343 cases on Thursday.
Cluster infections from private gatherings, public facilities and hospitals continued to occur sporadically across the nation, dragging down health authorities' containment efforts.
To prevent another wave of virus infections, the country decided to enforce tightened virus prevention measures for two weeks from Thursday in the greater Seoul area and southern city of Gwangju by raising the social distancing level by one notch to Level 1.5 under a new five-tier scheme.
The city of Suncheon in South Jeolla Province, about 415 km southeast of Seoul, started to enforce Level 2 social distancing rules from Friday as a precautionary move, becoming the first municipality in the country to enforce such an enhanced distancing scheme under the current five-level system.
The country reported three additional deaths from COVID-19, raising the total to 501.
However, more deaths could be reported down the road as the number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients came to 84, up five from Thursday.▲
The number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries came to 165, raising the total to 26,263.
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