(Xinhua) — South Korea confirmed 107 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Saturday local time, raising the total number of infections to 8,086. The new cases remained below 200 for the third consecutive day, after recording 110 on Friday and 114 on Thursday each.
Five more deaths were reported, lifting the death toll to 72. The total fatality rate stood at 0.84 percent. A total of 204 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 714. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) decided to update the data once a day at 10:00 a.m. local time from March 10, after having announced it twice a day.
The virus infection soared for the past weeks, with 8,055 new cases reported from Feb. 19 to March 13. The country has raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest “red” level. The total number of infections in Daegu, about 300 km southeast of Seoul, and its surrounding North Gyeongsang province increased to 5,990 and 1,153 respectively. It accounted for almost 90 percent of the total.
The numbers in Seoul and its adjacent Gyeonggi province came to 238 and 200 each.
Daegu became the epicenter of the viral spread here as the biggest cluster of infections was found in the metropolis with a 2.5 million population. Daegu has been designated by the government as a “special care zone.”
The Daegu cluster was closely linked to the church services of a homegrown minor religious sect, called Sincheonji, in Daegu. Members of the sect are known to sit on the floor closely side by side during church services.
Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 261,000 people, among whom 235,615 tested negative for the virus and 17,634 were being checked.