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New virus cases at 9-month high of over 600, bigger wave of pandemic in progress

All News 09:31 December 04, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- The daily number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea topped 600 on Friday, the most in nearly nine months despite tightened antivirus measures, putting the country under a critical alert over a bigger wave of the pandemic coming during the winter.

The country added 629 more COVID-19 cases, including 600 local infections, raising the total caseload to 36,332, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). It reported seven additional coronavirus fatalities, bringing the total to 536.

What is more concerning is that the greater Seoul area, home to half of the country's population, has been witnessing its daily new cases soar to a record high for the past few days.

A street in Gangnam, one of the busiest districts in Seoul, is mostly empty on Dec. 3, 2020, as South Korea has implemented strict antivirus measures to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

South Korea reported more than 500 daily new infections for three consecutive days through Saturday last week, before briefly falling back to 450 cases Sunday due to less testing over the weekend.

The increase in daily cases stayed above 500 for the second consecutive day Thursday.

Authorities have repeatedly warned of a possible surge in virus cases during winter, urging people to follow elevated antivirus measures that have been in place since Tuesday.

They also warned that the country could report daily virus cases of between 700 and 1,000 in the next one or two weeks unless the current pace is curbed, as the country continues to report sporadic infection clusters from private gatherings, virus-prone facilities.

Health experts said the country should elevate the current social distancing Level 2 of its five-tier system by at least half a notch as the current level is ineffective.

khj@yna.co.kr
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