South Korea reported 386 new coronavirus cases in a comeback that could force authorities to re-impose stronger restrictions on social distancing after easing them in October to stimulate the faltering economy.
The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Saturday brought the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 30,403, including 503 deaths.
More than 270 new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, as health workers struggled to trace transmission of the infection in schools, private teaching academies and religious facilities.
Infections have also been reported in other major cities, including Busan, Daejeon, Gwangju and Asan.
South Korea has so far managed to beat the epidemic without major lockdowns, relying instead on a vigorous testing and quarantine campaign and wearing masks.
Officials relaxed the distancing measures to the lowest level in October, allowing high-risk venues such as nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and the return of fans to professional sports.
But the Korea Society for Infectious Diseases said on Friday that the country could report more than 1,000 new infections per day within a week or two if social distancing measures are not effectively strengthened.
The group of doctors said: “Transmissions of COVID-19 are occurring in large numbers simultaneously across the country, and in some areas, the frequency of infection has already overwhelmed local capacity for contact tracing.”
On other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
– Japan is backing away from the government-backed “GoTo” campaign to encourage travel and eating abroad, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached a record for the third consecutive day on Saturday, at 2,418. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the decision in a government committee on pandemic measures Corona Virus. He stressed the need for “the utmost caution,” and said that the campaign travel discounts would no longer apply to the worst-affected areas, and the cuts to dining out would temporarily end. Japan has never experienced a complete lockdown. She’s had fewer than 2,000 deaths so far from the coronavirus. But concerns are mounting about a spike in the number of infections over the three-day weekend. Monday is Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday.
India reported 46,232 new cases, with the situation being particularly alarming in New Delhi. Intensive care wards and major crematoriums in the capital are close to being accommodated, and health officials this week found that the spread of infections in the markets is much higher than expected. The city has added an average of 6,700 cases per day in recent weeks. On Saturday, the Ministry of Health recorded 564 deaths during the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 132,726. India hit a milestone on Friday, with 9 million infections, second only to the United States
– China began mass tests on 3 million people in a section of the northern city of Tianjin and conducted tests on 4,015 others in a hospital in Shanghai after discovering two cases there. The National Health Commission recorded seven new locally transferred cases on Saturday, including five in Tianjin and two in Shanghai. On Friday, Tianjin reported a community transmission involving four different individuals and one more case. In response, local authorities closed the residential community in which people lived as well as a hospital and kindergarten. On Saturday, authorities began testing all residents in the Tianjin Binhai District, according to the local government’s social media page. Authorities in Shanghai closed a hospital after a husband and wife tested positive for the virus Friday night. The total number of confirmed cases in China is now 86,414.
After more than three weeks of no new infections or deaths in Victoria, the focus in Australia has shifted to the neighboring state of South Australia. On Saturday in Adelaide, the state capital, South Australian Prime Minister Stephen Marshall said there had been no new community transmission. There were 26 new cases in the North Adelaide suburb, resulting in a lockdown that will end at midnight Saturday, although a raft of measures continue to curb congestion in venues including bars and restaurants.
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