South Korea reports 3-week high 490 COVID-19 cases

Heekyong Yang, Reuters

Posted at Mar 13 2021 02:17 PM

A couple wearing masks walks on a street amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Seoul, South Korea, December 13, 2020. Kim Hong-Ji, Reuters

SEOUL - South Korea reported a three-week high 490 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, with infections creeping higher as authorities prepared for a broad vaccine rollout.

The daily tally as of Friday midnight was up slightly from 488 the day before to the highest since Feb. 19, said the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Of Friday's total, 474 were locally transmitted infections and 16 imported.

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This brings the country's total coronavirus infections to 95,176 with 1,667 COVID-19 deaths. Nearly 70% of the domestically transmitted cases have been from the capital Seoul and its neighboring areas, where about half the nation’s 52 million people live.

South Korea plans to begin vaccinating the general public, starting with people over age 65 and healthcare workers, next month, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a health official. The government is to announce details of the vaccination plan early next week.

The country has administered 583,658 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Friday midnight, according to the KDCA, including both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech shots.

The government said on Friday it would extend current social distancing rules with a ban on private gatherings of more than four people in a bid to stamp out the possibility of a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.

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