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People's Daily Online

S.Korea confirms 851 more cases of COVID-19, 5,186 in total

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 08:37, March 04, 2020

SEOUL, March 3 (Xinhua) -- South Korea confirmed 851 more cases of the COVID-19 on Tuesday, raising the total number of infections to 5,186.

As of 4:00 p.m. local time (0700 GMT), the number of infected patients totaled 5,186, up 851 from 24 hours ago. Five more deaths were reported, lifting the combined death toll to 31.

The fatality rate from the COVID-19 here was 0.6 percent as of midnight local time. The figure gained to 4.0 percent for those in their 70s and 5.4 percent among those in their 80s or higher.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has updated the data twice a day at 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time.

The virus infection soared for the past 13 days, with 4,304 new cases reported from Feb. 19 to March 2. 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 3,601 and 685 respectively as of midnight. It accounted for almost 90 percent of the total.

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.

The Daegu cluster was closely linked to the church services of a homegrown minor religious sect, called Sincheonji, in Daegu. As of Tuesday morning, 2,698 cases, or nearly 60 percent of the total, were tied to the worship services.

Out of more than 190,000 Sincheonji followers nationwide who were checked via phone call by the health authorities, 13,241 said they developed fever or other symptoms. Tests on half of those with symptoms were completed.

The contagion among Sincheonji followers was restricted to the southeastern region. Over 60 percent of Sincheonji members with symptoms in Daegu tested positive for the virus, but the percentage stood merely at 1.7 percent for Sincheonji members nationwide, except Daegu and North Gyeongsang province.

A total of 119 cases were traced to Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo county, just south of Daegu. Test for all of about 650 patients and medical staff was completed and almost all of the patients at the hospital's psychiatric ward tested positive for the virus.

The cluster infection at the hospital was believed to have been linked to the Sincheonji sect as a number of followers attended a funeral ceremony for a brother of the Sincehonji founder.

The government has designated Daegu and Cheongdo as a "special care zone."

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 125,000 people, among whom 85,484 tested negative for the COVID-19 virus and 35,555 were being checked.

One more patient was discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, raising the combined number to 34.



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