Korea's new Covid-19 cases fell below 30 on Monday for the first time since June 25, but imported cases remained in double digits.
The nation reported 26 new virus cases, including 22 foreign infections, raising the cumulative caseload to 13,771 as of midnight Sunday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The number of people discharged from quarantine increased to 12,572, up 16 from the previous day.
One more virus-linked death was reported, pushing up the death toll to 296. Korea, with a population of 50 million, has tested 1,470,193 people since Jan. 3.
The number of local infections dropped to a single-digit figure for the first time in 73 days. However, that of imported Covid-19 patients was five times higher than the locally infected people. The nation continued to report a double-digit number of foreign arrivals, the KCDC said. The accumulative number of imported cases has reached 2,067, accounting for 15 percent of all Covid-19 infections.
The spread of the Covid-19 virus in local communities is on the decline, but the current downtrend is unlikely to continue as the aftermath of clustered infections continues, and the summer vacation is about to begin, officials said.
Just as the mass infection in the Seoul greater area occurred at an unexpected time, few can tell where and when the new infections will outbreak.
According to the public health authorities on Monday, community spreads, which recently began in the Seoul metro region and spread to Daejeon and Gwangju, have subsided, and the control of the quarantine network is restoring.
This seems to have been driven by the government's social distancing, enforcement of measures to strengthen quarantine in the Seoul metropolitan area, and citizens’ cooperation with preventive rules for infection, according to the health officials.
"It is not the time to loosen up because Covid-19 patients continue to occur in Seoul and its vicinity and the southwest regions," Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-Hoo said.
Minister Park requested a little more effort to reduce the incidence of locally infected patients to a single digit and lower the cases with unknown transmission paths to less than 5 percent. Park added that the public needs a new way to enjoy a summer vacation in 2020 due to Covid-19.
"Please consider watching movies and reading books that you have wanted to see in a safe house this summer," Park said. "Even if you go on vacation to places in other areas, please refrain from going where many people gather in a short time."
On the other hand, the government has decided to resume the operation of public and social welfare facilities in the greater Seoul area while maintaining the quarantine measures from Monday. Officials said using these facilities, including libraries, museums, and art galleries, could be a better option than visiting crowded vacation spots.
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