S. Korea reports 248 new COVID-19 cases

Sep 01, 2020, 08:25 am

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People wearing masks walk on a street in Seoul on Aug. 31, 2020./ Source: Photographed by AsiaToday reporter Kim Hyun-woo

AsiaToday reporters Jang Ji-young & Kim Seo-kyung & Kim Ye-seul 

The number of daily new COVID-19 cases in South Korea stayed below 300 for the second consecutive day Monday. The country reported 248 new cases, a sharp drop from 299 cases identified the previous day.

However, health authorities are keeping their guards up as sporadic cluster infections across the country continue and more than 20 percent of patients have unknown infection routes.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said as of 12:00 am Monday, 248 additional people tested positive for COVID-19 – 238 local infections and 10 foreign arrivals - raising the total caseload to 19,947. Of the 238 locally transmitted cases, 183 were identified in the capital area. Seoul added 91 more cases, while the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and west port city of Incheon reported 79 and 13 cases, respectively. Other major municipalities reported additional infections, with the southwestern city of Gwangju and Chungju adding nine cases, respectively, and the southern resort island of Jeju confirming five more cases.

Various clusters, many tied to Sarang Jeil Church and the Aug. 15 rally, continued to grow both in and outside the capital region. So far, 1,056 cases have been traced to the Sarang Jeil Church. Sixty-two more people tested positive in connection to the anti-government rally in central Seoul, bringing the total of that cluster to 369.

The health authorities also confirmed a series of infections at religious facilities in Yeongdeungpo-gu (17 cases) and Dongjak-gu (22 cases) in Seoul, and Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province (10 cases).

The number of newly identified imported cases stood at 10, with three of them detected at quarantine checkpoints at airports and harbors. 

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 14,973, up 70 from the previous day. The country reported one more death from the virus, raising the death toll to 324. South Korea’s virus fatality rate is now at 1.63 percent.

In connection to a growing number of new infections at religious gatherings, the Seoul city government conducted an extensive inspection on 2,839 churches in the capital city on Sunday. As a result, 40 churches were caught holding worship services in person, which is against the quarantine rules. The city of Seoul is planning to take prosecution against churches who have conducted face-to-face worship more than once.

“The majority of the confirmed cases in the last month are related to churches,” said the Seoul government. “Some churches have violated the guidelines of the authorities, greatly hindering the country’s quarantine efforts while causing damage to other churches that follow the guidelines. In the event of any confirmed case in those churches, we plan to exercise the right to indemnity to have the treatment or quarantine costs reimbursed.”

In addition, the city decided to conduct an emergency on-site inspection for 88 general and nursing hospitals for two days. 

Meanwhile, the Seoul city began to mandate face masks Monday. Under the move, all Seoul residents and visitors to the city are required to wear masks at indoor areas, as well as crowded outdoor venues, with the exception of taking them off for meals, according to the Seoul government.

Under the existing law, however, those who do not wear masks are not fined or punished. A revised law that approves fines of up to 100,000 won is set to go into effect on Oct. 13.

#Seoul #COVID-19 
Copyright by Asiatoday