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S. Korea reports lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases in month

By Ock Hyun-ju

Published : March 23, 2020 - 10:25

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korea’s novel coronavirus cases climbed by 64 to 8,961 Monday, as the government tightened rules on social distancing and toughened quarantine screening on all arrivals from Europe.

The new cases marked the lowest daily increase in a month in the country, continuing a downward trend in new infections from the peak of 909 cases reported on Feb. 29.

The death toll rose by seven to 111, with the overall fatality rate standing at 1.24 percent, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death rate is 6.34 percent for those in their 70s and 11.62 percent for those in their 80s.

Of the new cases, 24 were reported in Daegu, the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak, 14 in Gyeonggi Province, six in Seoul and two in North Gyeongsang Province. The cases in Daegu represent 71.5 percent of the country’s total.

Some 3,166 people were discharged from quarantine, up 257 from the previous day. So far, a total of 338,036 people were tested for the virus, with 315,447 having tested negative. Some 13,628 people are awaiting test results as of Monday.

Of the total cases, 144 were classified as “imported” cases coming in from abroad, of which 84 were from Europe.

Amid a steady rise in imported virus cases, Korea on Sunday began to test everyone arriving from Europe – citizens and foreign nationals alike – and require those who enter the country for a long-term stay to self-isolate for two weeks, regardless of symptoms.

In a public message, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Saturday urged religious, indoor sports and entertainment facilities to suspend operations for 15 days, calling the next two weeks a “critical” time.

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