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S. Korea adds 76 new virus cases, first time in 23 days increase falls below 100

15 March 2020 10:45

SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South Korea on Sunday reported 76 new cases of the coronavirus to total 8,162, marking the first time in 23 days the number of new cases has fallen below 100, Yonhap reported.

It represented the lowest daily increase in the number of patients since Feb. 21, a strong indication that the outbreak is slowing as health authorities ramp up measures to contain cluster infections.

The figure also marked the fourth straight decrease since 242 new cases were reported Wednesday.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) also reported three new deaths, bringing the death toll to 75.

Of the new cases, 41 are in Daegu and four are in North Gyeongsang Province, the KCDC said.

The total number of confirmed cases in Daegu and North Gyeongsang, the two epicenters of the virus outbreak here, stood at 6,031 and 1,157, respectively.

The two regions accounted for roughly 88 percent of the total confirmed cases here.

Since raising the virus alert level to «red,» the highest level, on Feb. 23, health authorities have focused on halting the spread of the virus in Daegu and North Gyeongsang.

Infection cases in the capital Seoul rose by nine to 247, and surrounding Gyeonggi Province reported 11 new cases for a total of 211.

The number of patients released from quarantine moved up 120 to reach 834.

The pace of daily new infections has shown signs of slowing in recent days as health authorities completed extensive testing of 210,000 Shincheonji followers who are at the center of the rapid spread.

Authorities, however, are still on high alert over new clusters of infections, including at a call center in Seoul's Guro district and the country's government complex in the administrative city of Sejong.

South Korea's oceans ministry based in the central city of Sejong, around 130 kilometers south of Seoul, reported another new coronavirus case among its staff Sunday, raising the number of cases from the ministry to 27.

The total number of infections from Sejong came to 39, with the figure also including patients from the health, education and veteran ministries.

There were 115 patients from Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province linked to the call center, according to the latest data from Saturday.

So far, South Korea carried out examinations on 268,212, with 243,778 testing negative for the virus. Some 16,000 are awaiting results.