World • 16 March, 2020

New virus cases continue to slow in South Korea

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South Korea saw another downward trend in daily new infections of the novel coronavirus Monday, but multiple small-scale cluster infections continued to emerge across the nation, keeping health authorities on edge, Yonhap News agency reports.

The 74 new cases, which were detected Sunday, brought the nation's total infections to 8,236, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Sunday's new cases marked the lowest number of daily infections in more than three weeks, and it was the second straight day that daily new infections fell to a double-digit increase.

So far, 75 people, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses, have died in South Korea from the respiratory virus that emerged in China late last year, the KCDC said.

In South Korea, the virus has preyed on the elderly and already sick people. The KCDC said 70.6 percent of deaths were in their 70s and above. Another 18.7 percent of fatalities were in their 60s. No death from a virus patient younger than 29 has been reported.

South Korea has released a total of 1,137 fully recovered novel coronavirus patients from hospitals as of Sunday, up 303 from a day earlier, the KCDC said.

Sunday's number of cured people marked the biggest one-day increase so far. Last week, the number of daily cured people exceeded the number of daily new infections in South Korea for the first time since Jan. 20, when the virus was first detected on South Korean soil.

About 61 percent of confirmed cases have been linked to a branch of the Shincheonji religious sect in Daegu, which is the country's fourth-largest city with a population of 2.5 million.

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