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People's Daily Online

S.Korea reports 87 more COVID-19 cases, 8,652 in total

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:16, March 20, 2020

SEOUL, March 20 (Xinhua) -- South Korea reported 87 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Friday local time, raising the total number to 8,652.

The newly confirmed cases fell below 100 once again, after recording 152 on Thursday. The caseload grew in double figures from Sunday to Wednesday.

Three more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 94. The total fatality rate came in at 1.09 percent.

A total of 286 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 2,233. The number of recoveries kept surpassing new infections.

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 8,621 new cases reported from Feb. 19 to March 19. The country has raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest "red" level.

The total numbers of infections in Daegu, about 300 km southeast of Seoul, and its surrounding North Gyeongsang province increased to 6,275 and 1,203 respectively.

The numbers in Seoul and its adjacent Gyeonggi province came to 299 and 309 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 disaster 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.

The cluster infections accounted for about 80 percent of the total, and some 60 percent was traced to the Sincheonji sect.

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