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(LEAD) New virus cases in 600s for 4th day as sporadic infections continue

National 09:51 April 18, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 9-13; ADDS photo)
By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed in the 600s for the fourth consecutive day Sunday as sporadic infections continue to pop up across the nation, complicating antivirus efforts against the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The country reported 672 more COVID-19 cases, including 649 local infections, raising the total caseload to 114,115, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

It added three more deaths, raising the total to 1,797.

A medical worker collects a specimen from a person for COVID-19 testing at a temporary screening station in front of Seoul Station on April 17, 2021. (Yonhap)

Health authorities cautioned against a hike in group infections in public places, including sports facilities, churches, karaoke rooms, restaurants, workplaces and schools, as people increased outdoor activities in the spring season with the vaccination program under way.

Last week, the country decided to maintain the current level of social distancing rules through May 2 to contain the virus, while banning operations of entertainment establishments in the greater Seoul area and the southeastern port city of Busan.

The greater Seoul area, home to half of the nation's 52 million population, is under the Level 2 distancing scheme, the third highest in the five-phase system. The rest of the country is under Level 1.5, except for some municipalities that have adopted Level 2 measures.

The average daily number of locally transmitted cases stood at 621 over the past week, above the qualification for Level 2.5 distancing.

Officials warned of tougher rules on multiuse facilities and business operations if the current infection trend continues.

Citizens stand in line to undergo COVID-19 testing at a makeshift clinic in Seoul on April 17, 2021. (Yonhap)

Since the country started its vaccination program on Feb. 26, a total of 1,512,503 people have been given COVID-19 vaccine shots, including 29,165 the previous day.

AstraZeneca's vaccine has been given to 1,000,235 people, while 512,268 received that of Pfizer.

The KDCA said 60,585 people have received two doses.

A total of 12,197 cases of side effects after vaccinations have been reported, up 78 from a day earlier, but 98.3 percent were mild symptoms, including muscle pain and fever.

A total of 56 deaths after vaccinations have been reported, according to the KDCA. Authorities, however, said most cases were not related to the vaccinations.

A senior in a wheelchair gets ready for inoculation with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in southern Seoul on April 17, 2021, in this photo provided by the Dongjak Ward Office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)

Of the newly confirmed locally transmitted cases, 202 came from Seoul, with Gyeonggi Province surrounding the capital city reporting 181 cases. The southeastern port city of Busan logged 30 new infections.

There were 23 additional imported cases.

The number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients was 102, down six from the previous day.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 104,006, up 412 from a day earlier.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
(END)

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