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New virus cases on downhill as imported infections steadily rise


South Korea's new virus cases appeared to be on a downhill Tuesday, but imported infections marked the biggest one-day increase as the nation enforced quarantines on arrivals from Europe and other regions.

The 76 new cases, which were detected Monday and slightly up from 64 new cases a day earlier, brought the nation's total infections to 9,037, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll rose by nine to 120.

Monday's new cases marked the 13th consecutive day that the daily figure for new infections stood at some 100 or fewer.

Of the 76 new cases, 31 are in Daegu and one is in North Gyeongsang, the two worst-affected regions, the KCDC said.

Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul and Incheon, saw their new daily infections rise by 20 to 741 on Monday.

Other major provinces and cities have also reported some COVID-19 infections, with Seoul reporting four additional cases.

Worrisome is that the total number of imported virus cases rose by 20 to 67, marking the biggest one-day rise so far.

South Korea began implementing stricter rules on social distancing Sunday to slow the coronavirus pandemic that emerged in China late last year.

Citizens are strongly urged to stay at home, except for essential needs or jobs, with the government also restricting religious gatherings, indoor sports activities and attendance at entertainment facilities, such as night clubs.

South Korea has enforced a two-week quarantine period and virus tests for all long-term arrivals from Europe, regardless of symptoms, in an effort to contain imported virus cases.

So far, 3,507 patients have recovered, while 5,410 have been treated. South Korea has tested 348,582 people since Jan. 20, when the virus was first detected on South Korean soil. (Yonhap)