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SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) — The daily number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea stayed in the 400 range for the second day in a row Monday due apparently to less testing over the weekend, as health authorities opted to maintain the current antivirus curbs in the greater Seoul area for another week despite concerns over another wave of the pandemic.
The country added 438 more COVID-19 cases, including 414 local infections, raising the total caseload to 34,201, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). It reported three additional coronavirus fatality, bringing the total to 526.
The latest figure is down from 581 on Thursday, 555 on Friday, 503 on Saturday and 450 on Sunday, the KDCA said. However, fewer tests are usually carried out on weekends compared with weekdays.
The daily infection tally has stayed in the triple digits since Nov. 8, with the figure hovering above 300 since Nov. 18 except for Monday. Concerns have mounted since last week over the third wave of infections, as daily new cases peaked to an eight-month high.
On Sunday, the country decided to keep the greater Seoul area under Level 2 social distancing measures in its five-tier system, but it raised antivirus curbs in all other areas to Level 1.5.
Instead, more stringent antivirus curbs will be implemented in closed environments and facilities that are susceptible to virus infections in the wider Seoul area starting Tuesday for a week, and Level 1.5 social distancing will be put in place outside of Seoul for two weeks starting Tuesday.
By region, 158 new virus cases were reported in Seoul, 69 cases in Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital and 34 cases in Incheon, west of Seoul. The greater Seoul area is home to around half of the nation’s 51.6 million population.
Other municipalities reported new infections, with the southern port city of Busan adding 52 new cases, sharply up from 21 a day earlier.
The number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients came to 76 as of midnight, unchanged from the previous day.
The country added 24 imported cases, down from 37 a day earlier, coming mainly from Asian countries, excluding China, the KDCA said.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 27,653, up 111 from the previous day.