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New virus cases exceed 300 for 4th day, amid concerns about 3rd wave of pandemic

09:41 November 21, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- The number of daily new coronavirus cases in South Korea exceeded 300 for the fourth consecutive day Saturday due to sporadic cluster infections across the country, casting concerns over a third wave of the pandemic.

The country added 386 more COVID-19 cases, including 361 local infections, raising the total caseload to 30,403, according to the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The daily caseload has stayed in the triple digits since Nov. 8, with the figure exceeding 300 for the first time since late August on Wednesday with 313 cases. The country confirmed 343 cases on Thursday and 363 on Friday.

The accumulative number of infections topped the 30,000 mark Friday, 10 months after the country reported its first case on Jan. 20.

The South Korean health authorities said a third wave of virus infections is in progress in the greater Seoul area, following the first in February-March in Daegu and the second in August also in Seoul.

People wait in line to get tested for COVID-19 at a medical center in Gwangju, some 330 km south of Seoul, on Nov. 20, 2020. (Yonhap)

They have put constant efforts to control cluster infections occurring sporadically across the nation linked to private gatherings, public facilities and hospitals.

The state-run social distancing level was raised by one notch to Level 1.5 under a new five-tier scheme in the greater Seoul and southern city of Gwangju for two weeks since Wednesday in order to prevent another wave of virus infections.

The city of Suncheon in South Jeolla Province, about 415 km southeast of Seoul, started to enforce Level 2 social distancing rules Friday as a precautionary move, becoming the first municipality in the country to enforce the third highest level.

The country reported two additional deaths from COVID-19, raising the total to 503.

More deaths could be reported down the road as the number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients came to 86, up two from Friday.

The number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries came to 102, raising the total to 26,365.

brk@yna.co.kr
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