S. Korea: Daily virus cases over 1,500 as infections show little signs of letup
SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases retreated to the 1,500s on Saturday, but the fourth wave of infections is showing little signs of letting up despite weeks of the toughest antivirus rules in the greater Seoul area, Yonhap reports.
The country added 1,539 COVID-19 cases, including 1,466 local infections, raising the total caseload to 198,345, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The latest tally is down from 1,710 cases reported Friday.
The country added six more COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 2,095. The fatality rate was 1.06 percent.
The daily caseload has remained above 1,000 since July 7 due to the resurgence in the greater Seoul area. Recently, cases elsewhere have been growing amid increased activities in the summer vacation season.
Health authorities are considering additional measures to contain the fourth wave of the pandemic as new cases continue across the country despite strict virus curbs.
South Korea has extended the highest social distancing measures of Level 4 in the Seoul metropolitan area until Aug. 8.
The toughest restrictions ban gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m., place a 10 p.m. curfew on restaurants and cafes, and order nightclubs and other entertainment venues to not operate.
Areas outside the greater capital region are under Level 3 measures through Aug. 8, though some municipalities have adopted Level 4 measures to better contain the virus.
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.
South Korea is also working to boost its vaccination drive by expanding inoculations to the younger population.
Health authorities said vaccinations for 17.77 million people aged 18-49 will take place from Aug. 26 to Sept. 30 with mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
A total of 19.2 million people, or 37.4 percent of the country's 51.3 million population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, and 7.1 million people have been fully vaccinated, the KDCA said.
Of the 1,466 domestic cases, infections from non-capital areas reached 528, or 36 percent of the total, after rising to the 30 percent mark in mid-July.
South Gyeongsang Province and the central city of Daejeon reported 97 and 86 cases, respectively.
In the capital area, Seoul reported 468, while the surrounding Gyeonggi Province added 383. The western port city of Incheon confirmed 87 cases.
New cases from overseas arrivals reached 73, up 25 from the previous day, bringing the total to 11,896.
Of the newly added imported cases, which also include South Korean nationals, 19 came from Uzbekistan, followed by Indonesia with nine and the United States with eight.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 174,177, up 1,420 from a day earlier.
The number of patients in critical condition came to 317, up 18 from the previous day. It marked the first time since January that the number surpassed 300.
South Korea has carried out 11,728,821 COVID-19 tests so far, including 45,853 the previous day.