Korea's new Covid-19 cases climbed above 30 on Thursday, as foreign infections continued to increase, reflecting the resurge of global outbreaks.
The nation recorded 36 new cases -- 14 local infections and 22 foreign ones -- raising the cumulative caseload to 14,305 as of midnight Thursday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 13,183, up 51 from the previous day. One more virus-linked death was reported, pushing up the death toll to 301. Korea has tested 1,510,327 people since Jan. 3. Of the 14 locally transmitted cases, 12 occurred in the Seoul metro region, where about half of the country's 50-million population lives, and two in Gangwon Province.
In the capital, the number of patients is steadily increasing from the two epicenters --an elderly daycare center in western Seoul and an investment firm in the downtown area.
A new cluster infection broke out in an outdoor camping site in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province. According to health officials, six out of the 18 members who went on a camping trip tested positive for the virus.
Out of 22 imported infections, 10 cases were from Uzbekistan, four from the U.S., and two from the Philippines. The total caseload of cases coming in from overseas has reached 2,396, accounting for nearly 17 percent of the total.
Health authorities are worried that the number of imported cases will further increase on Friday as another group of Korean workers from Iraq landed in Incheon International Airport earlier in the day.
"Thirty-one of the 72 arrivals are showing symptoms of the virus," the government said. "The returnees received a Covid-19 diagnostic test at Incheon International Airport."
Asymptomatic workers will be moved to a temporary living facility and receive an additional diagnosis.
To contain the spread of foreign infections, the government announced that it would intensify the punishment of foreigners who reenter the country and falsely report their self-isolation address.
"From the immigration stage, the government will thoroughly verify the actual address of residence and the suitability of self-isolation for the domestic address reported by foreign nationals," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said. "Recently, there have been cases where long-term foreign residents who reenter the country falsely report their self-isolation address."
Such actions have resulted in disrupting quarantine control, the prime minister added.
Chung stressed that if the declared address is not suitable for self-quarantine, foreigners will be moved to government-designated quarantine facilities.
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