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New virus cases in 400s for 2nd day, potential upticks in infections in focus

21 February 2021 13:47

SEOUL. KAZINFORM South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed below 500 for the second straight day on Sunday, but health authorities remained vigilant about a potential flare-up in virus infections amid eased social distancing rules.

The country reported 416 more COVID-19 cases, including 391 local infections, raising the total caseload to 86,992, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, Yonhap reports.

The country added four more deaths, raising the total to 1,557.

The virus tally was lower than 448 reported Saturday and 561 on Friday.

The fall in daily cases appears to be due to fewer virus tests over the weekend.

The outbreak of cluster infections at workplaces, hospitals and religious facilities has posed challenges to the country's antivirus efforts amid concerns about the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants.

After the third wave of the pandemic peaked at a record high of 1,240 on Dec. 25, new virus cases fell to the 300s between Feb. 13-15 due largely to less testing over the Lunar New Year's holiday.

But COVID-19 cases bounced back above 600 on Wednesday and Thursday, sparking concerns about a flare-up in virus infections amid eased social distancing rules.

On Monday, the country relaxed its virus curbs to Level 2, the third highest in its five-tier scheme, in the greater Seoul area, and Level 1.5 in other regions in an effort to help ease economic pain on smaller merchants.

Health authorities warned of a pickup in virus cases tied to holiday traveling, saying that they could tighten the virus restrictions if the number of new cases swells.