Korea’s new Covid-19 cases jumped back above 60 on Tuesday, as local infections increased due to spreads at a daycare center and an army unit.
The nation reported 63 new Covid-19 patients, 34 foreign arrivals and 29 local infections, pushing the total caseload to 13,879 as of midnight Tuesday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Fifty-five more people recovered from the disease and raised the number of cured patients to 12,698 with 884 under treatment. One more person died of the coronavirus, increasing the death toll to 296. The country, with a population of 50 million, has tested 1,492,071 people since Jan. 3.
Imported cases remained unrelenting and maintained a double-digit figure for the 27th consecutive day. Among the new arrivals, 19 were detected at port and airport checkpoints. The cumulative number of imported cases reached 2,125, accounting for about 15 percent of the total outbreaks, according to the KCDC data.
Korea has been requesting foreign arrivals from six high-risk nations to submit virus test results. They are put under two-week quarantine and go through separate Covid-19 tests. So far, eight arrivals from the countries tested positive for the virus here despite handing in the proof. Health authorities, however, said those cases are unlikely to lead to community spreads.
Local infections, which slowed down somewhat during the previous few days, rose back to 29 cases, the highest in two weeks. Twenty-four of them were confirmed in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, four in Daegu, and one in Gwangju.
At least eight Army soldiers were confirmed of infection at a front-line unit in Pocheon, northern Gyeonggi Province. According to military officials, two soldiers from a unit of 8th Infantry Division developed symptoms. They showed a positive response to the Covid-19 test at a nearby hospital on Tuesday.
All troops in the garrison took the Covid-19 test, and six more, who had contacted the two confirmed soldiers, were found to have been infected. The source of infection of the first two confirmed soldiers is unclear, but they went on leave in June, and one of them was out of the post on Saturday, according to the military officials.
Despite the lingering local outbreaks, the government is moving to lift the strengthened quarantine measures on churches from Friday.
“Most churches and their members complied with the quarantine measures well, and there have been only a few cases of infection caused by small meetings recently,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Wednesday.
The government has been enforcing enhanced quarantine rules since July 8 by banning church meetings, small religious gatherings, and providing meals after services while mandating the management of visitor lists.
Calling for thorough preparations to bring back 300 Korean construction workers in Iraq, Prime Minister Chung instructed officials to support their transportation and quarantine.
Korea has not adopted a national lockdown and opted to encourage people to follow strict social distancing rules while minimizing disruptions to business activities. It has implemented limited restrictions on vulnerable places, including clubs and churches.
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