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New coronavirus cases under 2,000, authorities vigilant over autumn travelers

All News 09:41 October 09, 2021

SEOUL, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell below 2,000 on Saturday, with health authorities still keeping a watchful eye on a possible increase of infections over the extended weekend.

The country added 1,953 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,924 local infections, raising the total caseload to 329,925, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

After falling to 1,575 on Tuesday, the daily figure again rebounded to over 2,000 on Wednesday.

The country added six more deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, raising the death toll to 2,560.

A visitor receives a COVID-19 test at a makeshift clinic in Busan, 453 kilometers south of Seoul, on Oct. 8, 2021. (Yonhap)

Health authorities remain on alert over a further rise in new cases following a prolonged weekend ending Monday, which is a substitute holiday for Oct. 9 Hangeul Day, which celebrates the proclamation of the Korean alphabet.

On Monday, South Korea decided to maintain the toughest social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area, home to half of the population of 51 million, for another two-week period.

Since mid-July, the greater Seoul area has been under the Level 4 measures, which include business restrictions and a ban on private gatherings of three or more people after 6 p.m. in principle. Gatherings of up to six people, however, are currently allowed when at least four of them are fully vaccinated.

With the country's vaccinations gathering pace, the government is considering a gradual shift to a phase of "living with COVID-19" starting on Nov. 9, under which COVID-19 is treated as an infectious respiratory disease, like seasonal influenza, with eased distancing being implemented.

The KDCA said 39.9 million people, or 77.7 percent of the population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines since February when South Korea began its inoculation campaign. The number of fully vaccinated people stood at 30 million, or 59.1 percent.

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul reported 707 new cases, with Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital city reporting 629 cases and Incheon, west of Seoul, reporting 131 cases.

The number of new imported cases came to 29.

The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 384, up from seven the previous day, the KDCA said.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 294,929, up 2,838 from a day earlier.


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