New virus cases in 2,000s for 8th day; holiday-tied virus surge concerning in S. Korea

SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed in the 2,000s for the eighth straight day Sunday, with health authorities remaining on alert over the spread of the virus after an extended weekend, Yonhap reports.

The country added 2,086 more COVID-19 cases, including 2,058 local infections, raising the total caseload to 318,105, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Sunday's tally was down from 2,248 on Saturday and 2,486 on Friday.

The decline was largely attributable to less testing over the weekend. The daily infection count has stayed in the 2,000s since Sept. 26.

The country added three more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,507.

South Korea is grappling with the fourth wave of the pandemic, with the number of daily virus cases exceeding 1,000 for nearly three months.

It reported a further spike in virus infections following the fall harvest Chuseok holiday last month, with daily cases hitting a record high of 3,271 on Sept. 25.

This year's Oct. 3 National Foundation Day and the Oct. 9 Hangeul Day will be observed as three-day extended weekends as the government designated the following respective Mondays as substitute holidays.

South Korea decided Friday to extend the toughest-ever social distancing rules for two more weeks, which will be effective starting Monday.

Since July 12, the greater Seoul area, home to half of the country's population of 52 million, 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.

Amid the prolonged pandemic, the government is considering gradually moving into 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.

Since the country began its inoculation campaign on Feb. 26, 39.6 million people, or 77.3 percent of the population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, the KDCA said.

The number of fully vaccinated people stood at 26.6 million, or 52.5 percent.

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul reported 732 new cases, and Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital city identified 671 new patients. The southeastern city of Daegu reported 55 more cases.

The number of new imported cases came to 28, raising the total to 14,525.

The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 346, up from 336 the previous day, the KDCA said.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 278,847, up 1,755 from a day earlier.

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