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(LEAD) New cases under 2,000 for 3rd day on fewer tests; potential upticks still worrisome

All News 09:56 October 11, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS photo, more info in paras 11-12, 15)
By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases stayed below 2,000 for a third straight day Monday as health authorities brace for potential upticks after another extended weekend.

The country added 1,297 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,284 local infections, raising the total caseload to 332,816, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

This is the first time since Aug. 2 that daily cases were counted in the 1,200s.

The country added eight more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,583. The fatality rate was 0.78 percent.

The daily number of COVID-19 cases has been staying in the quadruple digits since July 7. Daily infections fell below the 2,000 mark Saturday after reporting more than 2,000 cases per day from Wednesday to Friday.

But the authorities believe COVID-19 infections are not on a downward trend as the latest tally reflects fewer tests over the weekend.

They are concerned about a potential spike in new cases following a prolonged weekend ending Monday, which is a substitute holiday for Hangeul Day on Oct. 9, which celebrates the proclamation of the Korean alphabet.

A health worker in a protective suit guides citizens at a makeshift COVID-19 testing clinic in Seoul on Oct. 10, 2021. (Yonhap)

Since mid-July, the greater Seoul area has been under 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 country is considering a gradual shift to a phase of "living with COVID-19" starting Nov. 9, under which COVID-19 is treated as an infectious respiratory disease, like seasonal influenza, with eased distancing being implemented.

The KDCA said 39.92 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 30.44 million, or 59.3 percent.

So far, 306,445 cases of suspected post-vaccination side effects have been reported, with 2,161 counted in the past two days. More than 96 percent of the cases were mild symptoms, such as muscle pain and fever.

There have been 751 deaths after vaccination, though the authorities have yet to find a causal relationship between inoculation and death in most cases.

A health worker guides citizens at a makeshift COVID-19 testing clinic in Seoul on Oct. 10, 2021. (Yonhap)

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul reported 509 new cases, with Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital city reporting 358 cases and Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, reporting 72 cases.

The number of new imported cases came to 13, down 21 from the previous day. The accumulated total of imported cases is now at 14,724.

Of the newly confirmed imported cases, the Philippines and Russia each accounted for four cases.

The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 371, down from 377 the previous day, the KDCA said.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries came to 298,022, up 1,314 from a day earlier.


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