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S. Korea’s coronavirus cases total 6,593

Concerns mount over more cluster infection cases

By Ock Hyun-ju

Published : March 6, 2020 - 17:53

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korea’s reported coronavirus cases mounted to 6,284 with total deaths at 42 on Friday, amid growing concerns over the emerging new clusters of infections.

The latest mass transmission cases were reported at Bundang Jesaeng Hospital in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. It was closed after nine people were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.

In the country of Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang Province, 51 people at a nursing home, or 44 percent of staff members and inpatients, tested positive for the coronavirus.

The source of infections at the hospital and nursing home was yet to unidentified, with the government conducting contact tracing for the confirmed patients.

A Zumba instructor in Sejong was found to have contracted the virus, triggering concerns over another mass infection cases in Chungcheong Province. The instructor reportedly attended a workshop in Cheonan, joined by 28 others including three from Daegu in February. Another instructor in Cheonan tested positive for the virus on Feb. 15.

Nearly 72 percent of Korea’s coronavirus cases are classified as cluster infection cases, while 28.3 percent are sporadic with their exact infection routes being scrutinized, KCDC Director General Jeong Eun-kyeong said at a briefing.

Six in 10 confirmed cases in Korea are linked to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu -- the largest cluster of infections here.

A growing number of newly confirmed cases have been linked to internet cafes or karaoke rooms, Jeong said, calling for such facilities to step up containment measures.

Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Gang-lip said at a briefing the government is paying close attention to minor clusters of infections in North Gyeongsang Province.

The city of Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang Province, which was designated as a special management zone Thursday, saw 57 new cases after reporting 59 cases a day earlier. Most of them are linked to the Shincheonji church and a nursing home.

The government is set to look into other facilities in Gyeongsan to detect possible cluster infection cases, Kim said.

Amid coronavirus fears, over 100 countries and regions are imposing travel warnings on Korea, entry bans or toughened quarantine procedures on visitors from here.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)