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S. Korea reports uptick in new virus cases, imported infections jump


South Korea reported an uptick in new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, driven by a steady rise in infections in the Seoul metropolitan area and a jump in imported cases.

The 100 new cases, which were detected on Tuesday and up from 76 new cases a day earlier, marked the 14th consecutive day that there were 100 or fewer additional cases, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Tuesday's number brought the nation's total infections to 9,137 and the death toll rose by six to 126.

While new infections in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the nation's two worst-hit regions, showed signs of abating, new infections in Seoul and neighboring areas, home to about 20 million people, have been on a steady rise.

The total number of imported cases jumped by 34 to 101 on Tuesday, the biggest single-day rise so far.

Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul and Incheon, saw their new daily infections rise by 35 to 776 on Tuesday.

Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province reported 14 and five new cases, respectively.

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 night clubs and other entertainment venues.

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. The stricter measure is widely expected to apply to passengers from the United States, possibly from Friday, with cases in the U.S. exploding to 50,000.

So far, 3,730 patients have recovered, while 5,281 are receiving treatment. South Korea has tested 357,896 people since Jan. 20, when the virus was first detected on South Korean soil. (Yonhap)