SEOUL, March 19 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases stayed in the 400s for the third day Friday, as sporadic cluster infections have not shown let up in the greater Seoul area amid increased travels and loosened vigilance against the pandemic.
The country reported 463 more COVID-19 cases, including 441 local infections, raising the total caseload to 97,757, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The daily caseload was slightly up from 445 on Thursday. Daily new virus cases fell to the 300s on Monday and Tuesday on fewer testers over the weekend, but they bounced back to the 400s on Wednesday.
As of 9 p.m. Friday, health authorities and local governments reported 384 more COVID-19 cases, which was 37 fewer than at the same time on Thursday.
Daily new cases are counted until midnight and then announced the following morning.
Despite enhanced preventive quarantine measures in the densely populated greater Seoul, cluster infections showed no signs of letup.
Enhanced infection prevention steps have been applied in the greater Seoul area with an aim to sharply flatten the virus curve within two weeks
Health authorities plan to step up the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine rollout as planned, as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that there is no evidence suggesting a correlation between the vaccines and blood clots found in some recipients.
The authorities said they will review the assessment of the safety of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines by the EMA over the weekend and release their own assessment next Monday.
The use of the vaccine has been suspended in more than a dozen European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, after reports of blood clots in people who received AstraZeneca products.
Two suspected cases of blood clots in South Korea have been reported after vaccination.
A total of 659,475 people, including 17,501 the previous day, have been given COVID-19 vaccine shots.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine accounted for 608,098, while Pfizer’s took up 51,377.
Under the country’s vaccination program that started on Feb. 26, a total of 12 million people will be vaccinated by the end of June. Foreigners also will be inoculated under the program.
The country aims to achieve herd immunity by November.
A total of 9,607 cases of side effects after vaccinations have been reported, though 9,492 of them were mild symptoms.
A total of 16 deaths after vaccinations have been reported, according to the KCDA.
Of the 441 locally transmitted cases announced early Thursday, 144 came from Seoul and 153 were reported from Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital. Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, reported 23 more cases.
The number of imported cases came to 22, up from 18 the previous day. They included six from the United States and three from Indonesia.
The country added two more deaths, raising the total to 1,690. The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 101, up from 100 the previous day.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries moved up 345 to 89,523.