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(LEAD) New cases bounce back above 1,800 despite stepped-up vigilance

All News 10:19 August 07, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS more details in paras 3, 7-8, 13-14; RECASTS 6th para)

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases bounced back to over 1,800 on Saturday, though the country tightened its vigilance with the extension of stringent virus curbs amid few signs of the situation improving.

The country added 1,823 COVID-19 cases, including 1,762 local infections, raising the total caseload to 209,228, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The latest caseload marks the highest number since the daily count reached 1,895 on July 28. The tally is up from 1,776 cases reported Thursday and 1,704 on Friday.

The country added three more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,116. The fatality rate came to 1.01 percent.

The daily caseload has remained above 1,000 since July 7 due to outbreaks centered in the greater Seoul area. Cases outside the capital area have also risen amid increased activities in the summer vacation season and the highly transmissible delta variant.

Amid few signs of a letup, the authorities decided to extend the Level 4 distancing measures -- the toughest in the four-tier system -- for the wider Seoul area until Aug. 22, while non-Seoul metropolitan regions will remain under Level 3.

The Level 4 restrictions ban gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m., place a 10 p.m. curfew on restaurants and cafes, and suspend the operations of nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

Under Level 3, cafes and restaurants can accept customers until 10 p.m., and only takeout and delivery services are available after that time. Private gatherings of five or more people are banned.

Since South Korea kicked off its vaccination program in late February, a total of 20.7 million people, or 40.5 percent of the country's 52 million population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines.

Around 15 percent, or 7.68 million people, have been fully vaccinated, according to KDCA data.

People are monitored for abnormal reactions after receiving COVID-19 vaccine shots at an inoculation center in Seoul on Aug. 6, 2021. (Yonhap)

The country aims to administer a single vaccination shot to 36 million people, or 70 percent of its population, by September with hopes of reaching herd immunity in November.

In the latest domestic tally, Seoul reported 498 cases, the surrounding Gyeonggi Province added 501, and the western port city of Incheon confirmed 90 cases.

The southeastern port city of Busan posted 144 new cases while the neighboring South Gyeongsang Province reported 130 more infections.

There were 61 cases from overseas arrivals, which include South Korean nationals. Of the total, 42 were from Asia, excluding China, and four from Europe.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 183,789, up 1,737 from a day earlier.

The number of patients in critical condition came to 377, up one from the previous day.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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