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New virus cases over 400, rising travelers worried to strain virus fight
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 03 - 2021

South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases hovered above 400 on Saturday as sporadic cluster infections showed no signs of a letup and the rising number of travelers amid warm weather is worried to spark yet another uptick in the curve, Yonhap reported.
The country reported 418 more COVID-19 cases, including 404 local infections, raising the total caseload to 92,055, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. The daily case was slightly up from 398 reported on Friday, but down from 424 tallied on Thursday.
The country added five more deaths from COVID-19, raising the total to 1,632. The fatality rate was 1.77 percent.
South Korea reported record-high daily infections of 1,241 on Christmas last year, with the figure gradually falling since with some ups and downs. The number, however, has stayed stagnant recently at around 300 and 400, as cluster infections from workplaces and hospitals have lingered.
South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed above 400 for a second straight day on Sunday on continued cluster infections, as the number of vaccinated people topped 310,000 in just nine days since the inoculation campaign began.
In preemptive efforts to contain mass infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Sunday the government will strengthen the virus testing capability to 500,000 people a day.
"The country has avoided the third wave of mass infections. But the government will discuss measures to prevent a possible fourth round of infections given that the number of daily infections stayed at around 300-400 in the past seven weeks," Chung said.
Over the past two weeks, cluster infections accounted for 32 percent of new cases, while the transmission routes of 23 percent of cases remain unknown.
Health authorities remain vigilant as more South Koreans are expected to enjoy outdoor activities in the warmer weather, warning that people should continue to stay home to flatten the virus curve.
The greater Seoul area, home to about half of the nation's 52 million population, is currently under the Level 2 social distancing scheme, the third highest in its five-tier system, and other regions are placed under Level 1.5.
Private gatherings of five or more people are banned nationwide.
South Korea, meanwhile, has tentatively decided to adopt a four-tier social distancing system that allows merchants, such as cafes and restaurants, to do business under voluntary containment efforts. Health authorities plan to finalize the new social distancing scheme by the end of the month.
The country has administered vaccinations to a total of 314,656 people since launching a mass vaccination campaign last week, with an additional 17,131 getting the shots Saturday, the statement said.
AstraZeneca's vaccine accounted for 309,387, while Pfizer's took up 5,269, it said. South Korea aims to achieve herd immunity by November.
In authorities' extended efforts to contain the pandemic, fines of under 2 million won ($1,771) will be issued for those who receive shots by cutting in line ahead of the scheduled vaccination plan.
South Korea currently requires all arrivals to hand in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results. Foreigners without proper documents are denied entry. — Agencies

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