Daily coronavirus cases have spiked above 400 again on Tuesday, while ongoing group infections and increased outdoor activities are feared to lead to another surge in cases. .
The country reported 446 new COVID-19 cases, including 427 local infections, bringing the total cases to 93,263, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). .
Daily infections remained below 400 on Monday, apparently due to fewer tests performed over the weekend, having hovered above the threshold for two days, with 418 cases on Saturday and 416 on Sunday.
The country added three more deaths, bringing the total to 1,645.The death rate reached 1.76 percent, according to the KDCA.
After registering a record number of daily cases at the end of last year, the number has fallen steadily since then, thanks to toughened anti-virus measures.
The Seoul metropolitan area is currently under level 2 of social distancing – the third of the five-level system – while level 1.5 is imposed in the rest of the country.
Meetings between five or more people are prohibited nationally.
The daily count, however, has recently hovered around 300 and 400 cases amid constant group infections, most notably that of a cattle meat facility in Anseong, 77 kilometers south of Seoul, which has reported a total of 77 cases so far.
The increase in outdoor activities amid the warmer weather has also put authorities on edge, as people-to-people contact is expected to increase.
The current antivirus restrictions are scheduled to run through March 14, although if there were any changes the authorities would announce them on Friday.
South Korea is also working to finalize its new four-tier social distancing system by the end of the month.
Health authorities added that they will extend the operation of the Seoul metropolitan area’s temporary test stations to other regions, including Busan, Ulsan, Gwangju, Daegu, Cheonan and Asan.New coronavirus tests at such facilities will be available until the end of April.
The country has been operating such centers since mid-December last year, allowing anyone, even asymptomatic, to undergo COVID-19 tests, in order to increase testing and contain the spread of the virus.
Currently, 98 virus testing centers are available in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Since the launch of these facilities, a total of 2.42 million COVID-19 tests have been carried out, and 6,522 people have been confirmed to have been infected with the virus through tests carried out in these centers.
The country’s vaccination campaign, which began late last month with the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, is expected to accelerate.
A total of 383,346 people have been inoculated, including 64,111 the day before, since the first inoculation on February 26.
There have been 377,138 inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine and 6,208 with the Pfizer vaccine.
So far, a total of 4,851 cases of side effects have been reported after vaccination, which represents an increase of 936 compared to the previous day, most of which -924- had mild symptoms, such as headaches or fever, while there have been 10 new reports of suspected anaphylaxis.
Two more deaths were reported after vaccination, bringing the total to 13. However, a group of medical experts provisionally concluded on Monday that there was no causal relationship between deaths and vaccinations in eight of the deaths, while the remaining cases are being investigated.
The country aims to achieve herd immunity by November.
Among the 427 locally transmitted cases, 98 were recorded in Seoul and 181 in Gyeonggi province, which surrounds the capital.Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, added 20 more cases.The three areas, which make up the capital area, where half of the country’s population resides, of 52 million, accounted for 70 percent of all new local cases.
Meanwhile, the country registered another 19 imported cases.
The number of patients in serious or critical condition remained at 128, compared to the previous day.
The total number of people discharged from quarantine, after fully recovering, was 83,900, registering an increase of 426 compared to the previous day.
South Korea has conducted 6,902,984 coronavirus tests to date, including 41,175 the day before.