New virus cases fewer than 2,000 for 11th day amid rising vaccination rate

SEOUL. KAZINFORM South Korea's daily coronavirus cases stayed below 2,000 for the 11th straight day Tuesday, as the effects of vaccines are taking hold with rising inoculations amid preparations for a gradual return to normalcy.

The country reported 1,073 new cases, including 1,048 local infections, raising the total caseload to 344,518, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, Yonhap reports.

Tuesday's tally is up from the 1,050 counted the previous day, which marked the lowest daily number since July 7, but down from Sunday's 1,420 new cases.

The death toll came to 2,689, up by 21 from a day earlier. The latest deaths, the highest since July 7, mostly came from unvaccinated elderly people and included six breakthrough infection cases.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, health authorities and local governments had reported 1,273 more COVID-19 cases, up 376 cases from the same time Monday.

Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.

The slowdown in virus cases came as the country has seen a steady increase in the national vaccination rate that experts say appear to be showing effects.

As of Tuesday, 65.9 percent of the 52 million population were fully vaccinated and 78.8 percent had received their first shot. In early July, the full vaccination rate was about 10.6 percent.

«As the vaccinated population is increasing, it is blocking the spread of virus transmissions and resulting in preventive effects that bring down serious cases and the death rate,» Park Hyang, a senior health official, said at a regular briefing.

The weekly data also show a sharp decline in new cases. The average new COVID-19 cases for last week stood at 1,562, down by 398.6 from the previous week.

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