New daily cases of the novel coronavirus in South Korea have increased by 119, bringing the total caseload to 21,296, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday. It is the fifth day in a row that the daily tally remained below 200.
The death toll rose by two to 336. The fatality rate stands at 1.58 percent.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo urged the public to comply with the government’s strengthened Level 2 social distancing system so that the measure, the most stringent one that has been implemented to the country so far, could be lifted after this week.
“Ten days ago on Aug. 27, there were 434 confirmed daily cases, but we have managed to maintain daily infection cases below 200 for the fifth straight day. The public’s active participation and patience are yielding results little by little,” he said.
Alarmed by the spike in the daily cases in late August, health authorities added rules starting from Aug. 30 to restrict operations of high-risk facilities in Seoul and its neighboring areas, including indoor locations where people gather and eat together like restaurants, bakeries and franchise coffee chains.
The tougher “Level 2.5” rules for Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon will remain until Sunday. The nationwide Level 2 social distancing are due to be implemented until Sept. 20.
Of the new 119 cases, 47 cases were reported in Seoul, with 30 from Gyeonggi Province and one from Incheon.
The combined new 78 daily infections in the greater metropolitan area marks the first time the figure has been below 100 since Aug. 15, partly due to the lower volume of testing on the weekend.
The alert level on virus transmissions cannot be relaxed as the proportion of untraceable cases stands at 22 percent and sporadic cluster infections have been reported across the country persistently, according to the health minister.
“The increase in the number of severe patients, which surged every day, has also eased, but 162 people are still undergoing severe treatment,” Park added.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 16,297, up 151 from the previous day. The country has carried out 2,051,297 coronavirus tests since Jan. 3.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org