New cases in 2,000s for 2nd day, resurgence in wider Seoul worrisome

SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases remained in the 2,000s for a second day in a row Thursday following a long weekend, amid concerns over the spread of the pandemic ahead of another extended weekend, Yonhap reports.

The country added 2,427 more COVID-19 cases, including 2,400 local infections, raising the total caseload to 325,804, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Daily infections rebounded to over 2,000 again Wednesday after falling below the 2,000 mark Monday and Tuesday due to fewer tests.

South Korea had reported more than 2,000 cases per day since Sept. 26, a day after daily cases exceeded 3,000 for the first time following the Chuseok holiday, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving.

The country added eight more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,544. The fatality rate stood at 0.78 percent.

Later in the day, health authorities and local governments said 1,497 new cases had been confirmed as of 6 p.m. on Thursday, down 64 from the same time the previous day. The daily tally is counted until midnight and announced the following day.

Health authorities remain on alert over further rises in new cases after another extended weekend ending Oct. 11 due to Hangeul Day, which celebrates the proclamation of the Korean alphabet.

For another two weeks starting Monday, South Korea extended the toughest social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area, home to half of the population of 51 million.

Since July 12, the greater Seoul area has been under the Level 4 measures, which include business restrictions and a ban on private gatherings of three or more people after 6 p.m.

With the country's vaccinations gathering pace, the government is considering a gradual shift to a phase of «living with COVID-19» starting in November, under which COVID-19 is treated as an infectious respiratory disease, like seasonal influenza, with eased distancing being implemented.

KDCA Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong said the «With Corona» scheme is expected to begin in the second week of next month.

Since the country began its inoculation campaign on Feb. 26, 39.82 million people, or 77.6 percent of the population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, the KDCA said.

The number of fully vaccinated people stood at 28.5 million, or 55.5 percent.

The KDCA chief expected 70 percent of the population to be fully vaccinated by the last week of October.

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul reported 833 new cases, with Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital city reporting 851 cases and Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, reporting 198 cases.

The number of new imported cases came to 27, raising the total to 14,617.

The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 375, up from 354 the previous day, the KDCA said.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 288,822, up 1,782 from a day earlier.

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