SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s new coronavirus cases rose by triple digits for the second straight day Thursday, as cluster infections at nursing homes and other risk-prone facilities continued to pile up amid eased social distancing measures.
The country added 125 more COVID-19 cases, including 106 domestic infections, raising the total caseload to 26,271, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
It marked a rise from 103 new cases reported Wednesday and 88 Tuesday. Locally transmitted cases spiked against to the triple digits for the first time in six days.
The latest upticks were mostly traced to senior nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities, but sporadic group infections continued to rise in cases tied to small gatherings, including family meetings.
Since the country eased the social distancing scheme by one notch to the lowest level on Oct. 12, the daily figures have showed ups and downs, hovering around 100.
Health authorities warned that the country is currently at a critical juncture, as daily cases may further pile up on a potential resurgence in virus infections as people travel to enjoy autumn vacation.
Halloween, set for Saturday, is also a major concern for health authorities as people could gather at entertainment facilities, a potential hotbed for cluster infections.
The country reported more than 270 COVID-19 cases tied to clubs in the nightlife district of Itaewon in early May.
Popular clubs in Seoul’s hip districts of Itaewon, Hongdae and Gangnam said they will close this Halloween weekend to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Of the newly identified local infections, 36 cases were reported in Seoul, 52 cases in Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital and five cases in Incheon, west of Seoul. The greater Seoul area is home to around half of the nation’s 51.6 million population.
Other municipalities reported new infections, with the country’s southeastern city of Daegu adding three cases and the southwestern city of Gwangju reporting one new cases.
A sauna in the Gangnam Ward of Seoul reported 16 more patients as of noon Thursday, raising the total caseload to 17.
A clothing firm in Yongsan Ward added one more patient, raising the tally to nine.
A total of 30 cases was also traced to a gathering in southern Seoul. So far 51 patients have been reported in connection with a golf gathering in Yongin, just south of Seoul.
Cases at a hospital in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, reached 141 as of Thursday.
Other major cluster infections included a middle school in Seongnam, south of Seoul, which has reported 13 patients, up five from the previous day.
Over the past two weeks, 10 percent of the newly added cases had unknown infection routes. More than 30 percent of them were cluster infections.
The country, meanwhile, added 19 imported cases, bringing the total to 3,705. Eight cases came from the United States, followed by three from Kuwait and two each from the Philippines and Uzbekistan.
South Korea reported one additional death, raising the death toll to 462. The fatality rate was 1.76 percent.
The number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients came to 53 as of midnight, up from 52 in the previous day.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 24,168, up 95 from the previous day.
The country has carried out 2,597,978 coronavirus tests since Jan. 3, including 15,018 tests from the previous day.