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(2nd LD) New cases stay in 1,000s for 5th day amid signs of slowdown

18:47 October 13, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with latest tally in 7th para)

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases stayed in the 1,000s for the fifth straight day Wednesday with signs of a slight drop in weekly infections.

The country added 1,584 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,571 local infections, raising the total caseload to 335,742, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Wednesday's cases were up 237 from the previous day, after a substitute holiday for Hangeul Day on Oct. 9, which celebrates the proclamation of the Korean alphabet.

The daily number of COVID-19 cases has stayed in the quadruple digits since July 7.

But the authorities' data showed that average confirmed cases across the country were tallied at 1,745 in the period from Oct. 7-13, down 15.6 percent compared with 2,068 the previous week.

The country added 11 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,605. The fatality rate was 0.78 percent.

Health officials and local governments said 1,364 new cases had been confirmed as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, up 45 from the same time Tuesday. Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.

Medical workers prepare to conduct coronavirus tests at a screening clinic in front of Seoul Station on Oct. 13, 2021. South Korea's daily coronavirus cases remained in the 1,000s the same day as more people took virus tests after an extended weekend. (Yonhap)

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said that the government is considering introducing a vaccine pass system to benefit fully vaccinated people, as it plans to adopt a gradual scheme named "living with COVID-19" to get back to normal life on Nov. 9.

South Korea is set to announce social distancing rules on Friday ahead of the implementation of the plan.

Since July 12, the greater Seoul area, home to half of the country's population of 52 million, has been under the Level 4 social distancing rules, which includes restrictions on business operations and private gatherings.

The KDCA said 40.12 million people, or 78.1 percent of the population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines and the number of fully vaccinated people stood at 31.20 million, or 60.8 percent.

On Tuesday, the government began administering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to about 45,000 medical workers who were fully vaccinated six months ago to try to contain virus infections.

Breakthrough cases came to 13,860 as of Oct. 3, the authorities said.

Breakthrough cases rose 31.4 percent on Oct. 3, compared with 10,540 totaled on Sept. 26.

A medical worker (R) checks the body temperature of people who are set to receive additional vaccine jabs at a vaccination center in Seoul on Oct. 12, 2021. Health authorities started giving additional COVID-19 shots to people who were fully vaccinated six months ago the same day. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul reported 581 new cases, with Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital city reporting 506 cases and Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, reporting 86 cases.

The number of new imported cases came to 13, unchanged from the previous day. The accumulated total of imported cases is now at 14,750.

The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 359, down from 364 the previous day, the KDCA said.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries came to 302,066, up 2,806 from a day earlier.

ksnam@yna.co.kr
(END)

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