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New cases stay above 600 for 2nd day; virus curbs likely to be again extended in S. Korea

20 May 2021 07:42

SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases rose above 600 for the second day Thursday amid continued cluster inflections and spreading variant cases, Yonhap reports.

The country reported 646 more COVID-19 cases, including 619 local infections, raising the total caseload to 134,117, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

Thursday's daily caseload compares with 654 on Wednesday, 528 on Tuesday and 619 on Monday.

There were four additional virus deaths, raising the total to 1,916.

South Korea will adjust social distancing rules on Friday, but the current rules are likely to be extended.

Currently, the greater Seoul area, home to more than half of the country's 52 million people, is under Level 2 social distancing, the third highest in the five-tier scheme. Gatherings of five or more people are banned nationwide in principle.

South Korea has been raising its guard against sporadic cluster infections across the nation amid the rising number of travelers enjoying warm weather.

The country has reported more than 1,140 cases of variant strains of COVID-19 from Britain, South Africa and Brazil, with southern cities, such as Ulsan, reporting the most variant cases. On Tuesday, 15 more were confirmed to have contracted the Indian variant of the virus.

While the country launched its vaccination program on Feb. 26, it has been sluggish in inoculating South Koreans amid the tight supply of vaccines.

As of Wednesday, 1,180,516 people, or 2.5 percent of the country's population, have been fully vaccinated, receiving both doses of two-part vaccines.

A total of 3,759,157 people, or 7.3 percent, have received their first shots, up 1,783 from a day earlier.

AstraZeneca's vaccine has been given to 2.05 million people, while 1.7 million have received that of Pfizer.

Under the country's vaccination blueprint, South Korea aims to inoculate 13 million people by the end of June and achieve herd immunity by November.

Of the locally transmitted cases, 238 came from Seoul, and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province accounted for 183.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 123,659, up 422 from a day earlier.