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New virus cases below 600, bigger wave of pandemic in progress

All News 09:45 December 05, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- The daily number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea fell back to below 600 on Saturday, following a nine-month high the previous day, continuing to put the country under a critical alert over a bigger wave of the pandemic amid the winter.

The country added 583 more COVID-19 cases, including 559 local infections, raising the total caseload to 36,915, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). It reported four additional coronavirus fatalities, bringing the total to 540.

A student walks by a cafe in southern Seoul on Dec. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)

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

The increase in daily cases stayed above 500 for the second consecutive day Thursday and topped the high from nine months ago Friday, with 629 cases.

Amid concerns that the country could face the biggest crisis to date, the authorities have said they will monitor the current pace and decide Sunday on whether to adopt additional measures after adopting enhancing Level 2 social distancing nearly two weeks ago.

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.

On Friday, the Seoul city government announced that stores, theaters and multiple other facilities must close after 9 p.m. for two weeks.

Businesses subject to the new restriction include stores, movie theaters, internet cafes, game arcades, private academies, study halls, amusement parks, beauty salons, barber shops, large grocery stores and department stores. They can reopen at 5 a.m.

khj@yna.co.kr
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