Korea adds 541 more virus patients, mutant strain infections rising

World | 4 May 2021 3:43 pm

South Korea's daily new coronavirus infections bounced back to the 500s on Tuesday amid growing fears that a rising incidence of variants could become another challenge, Yonhap reports.

The country reported 541 more patients, including 514 local infections, raising the total caseload to 124,269, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

The country added six more deaths, raising the death toll to 1,840.

The daily caseload had been in the 600s since Wednesday, but it fell back to the 400s on Monday on fewer tests over the weekend.

Infections from more contagious variants have been spiraling upwards, accounting for some 15 percent of confirmed patients recently.

"The figures logged a double-digit rise for a second straight week," Minister of the Interior and Safety Jeon Hae Cheol said in a virus response meeting.

Health authorities said the country has identified 97 more infections of contagious variants, including 75 locally transmitted ones, bringing the total to 632.

A total of 87 were the Britain-originated variant, followed by 10 from South Africa.

A possible flare-up in new patients amid warm weather forced the health authorities to extend social distancing rules and a ban on private gatherings of five or more people for three more weeks until May 23.

The greater Seoul area, home to more than half of the country's 52 million people, is under Level 2 social distancing, the third highest in the five-tier scheme, with non-capital regions under Level 1.5.


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