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New cases spike to 2nd largest; infections in greater Seoul top 2,000 again

A banner informing of a 10 percent off tuition fee for vaccinated people is put up at a private educational institute in western Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
A banner informing of a 10 percent off tuition fee for vaccinated people is put up at a private educational institute in western Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
South Korea's daily coronavirus cases stayed in the 2,000s for a fourth day Wednesday, bouncing back to the second largest since the outbreak of COVID-19 in January last year on a spike in infections in the greater Seoul area.

The country reported 2,885 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,859 local infections, bringing the total caseload to 308,725, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The daily caseload touched a fresh high of 3,272 on Saturday due to a mass migration during the Chuseok holiday, the Korean autumn harvest celebration, which ran from Monday to Wednesday last week.

It fell to 2,771 on Sunday, 2,383 on Monday and 2,289 on Tuesday, as fewer people took a virus tests over the weekend.

Of the locally transmitted cases, the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the nation's 52 million population, took up 76.6 percent of the total, which is up 2.6 percentage points from the previous day.

Seoul reported 1,054 cases, and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province 991 cases, with the western port city of Incheon adding 154 cases.

After the Chuseok holiday, more infections were reported outside of the greater Seoul area.

Daegu, a city 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul reported 109 cases, with North Gyeongsang Province, which surrounds Daegu, reporting 88 cases.

Daily cases have stayed over 1,000 for the last 85 days despite the country having implemented the toughest virus curbs to slow down the nationwide spread.

The country added 10 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,474.

Health authorities still remained jittery over a potential surge in new cases, as the upcoming extended holidays next month are forecast to fuel further spread of the virus.

If the upward trends continue, the current distancing rules will be maintained for a couple of weeks.

The greater Seoul area has been under Level 4 distancing measures, the highest in the country's four-tier system, since July, with most other areas being under Level 3.

The health authorities will decide whether to extend the current distancing rules or not Friday.

A total of 38.76 million people, or 75.5 percent of the country's population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, and 24.64 million people, or 48 percent, have been fully vaccinated, the KDCA said.

Imported cases came to 26, including three from Vietnam.

The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 331, up seven from the previous day.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 272,724, up 1,796 from a day earlier. (Yonhap)