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New virus cases fall but infections spread to outdoor market
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.08.10 14:22
  • Updated 2020.08.10 14:22
  • comments 1

Korea reported new Covid-19 cases below 30 on Monday as foreign inflows slowed down, but health officials tensed up in the face of the first outbreaks in the nation’s largest traditional market.

The nation saw 28 new virus cases -- 17 local infections and 11 foreign arrivals -- raising the cumulative caseload to 14,626 as of midnight Sunday.

Sixteen more people recovered, pushing the number of cured patients to 13,658, with 663 receiving treatment, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The death toll remained at 305 as no one died of Covid-19. The nation has tested 1,628,303 suspected patients since Jan. 3.

The number of local infections surpassed imported cases on Sunday.

Among the 17 locally transmitted cases, 16 occurred in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province and one in Busan.

Faced with the rebound of infections originating in churches, the public health authorities are considering reapplying toughened restrictions on churches and small religious gatherings, officials said.

Most religious facilities have strengthened quarantine measures since the massive outbreaks in the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu in February. However, cluster infections are reappearing as some church members are not abiding by the preventive rules while having meals and activities in their small meetings.

"The government is considering reintroducing stringent quarantine rules on churches in the greater Seoul area, like the ones applied to Daegu chapters of the Shincheonji sect,” Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neun-hoo said at a daily briefing on Sunday.

Health officials said Sunday that a female merchant at Namdaemun Market in downtown Seoul, a member of a church in Goyang, north of Seoul, tested positive for Covid-19. An additional 20 people who had contacted the infected patient received a test. Eight showed positive responses, raising concerns about further cluster infections spreading from the market.

Another woman, a childcare teacher who also attends the same church, has infected four children at her facility.

The number of imported cases decreased to a single-digit the previous day but increased to 11 on Monday. The foreign arrivals remained in double-digits for 44 days from June 26 to Aug. 8.

Of the 11 imported cases, three patients were from the U.S., two from the Philippines and Bangladesh, and one from Russia, Afghanistan, Finland, and Burkina Faso.

By nationality, five were Koreans, and six were foreigners. Six of them tested positive in the screening process at either an airport or a seaport. The other five were confirmed while under self-quarantine, according to the KCDC.


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