Seoul: South Korea’s daily coronavirus cases remained in the 2,000s for the fifth day in a row on Thursday September 30 in the aftermath of last week’s extended holiday that has fueled a nationwide resurgence in virus infections.
Health authorities will likely extend the current distancing rules, the toughest that have been in place for more than two months, for another couple of weeks.
The country reported 2,564 new cases, including 2,539 local infections, bringing the total caseload to 311,289, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The country added seven more deaths due to Covid-19, raising the death toll to 2,481.
The daily caseload touched a fresh high of 3,271 on Saturday after masses traveled during the Chuseok holiday that celebrates the fall harvest that ran from Monday to Wednesday last week.
The figure has stayed in the 2,000s this week, with 2,383 cases reported on Monday, 2,289 on Tuesday and 2,885 on Wednesday.
Health authorities have expressed concern about another surge in new cases as two extended weekends next month will likely lead to more travel and fuel even a greater spread of the virus.
The greater Seoul area has been under Level 4 distancing measures, the highest in the country’s four-tier system, since July, while most other areas are under Level 3.
Authorities will announce their decision on the distancing rules on Friday.
Seoul reported 941 new cases, and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province 879 cases, with the western port city of Incheon adding 148 cases.
Areas outside of the capital region have also seen a rise in cases after the holiday.
Although the caseload is piling up, the country’s vaccination scheme has been on a steady rollout and is on pace to reach its goal of reaching herd immunity by November.
A total of 39 million people, or 76 per cent of the country’s population, have received their first shots of vaccines, and 25.17 million people, or 49 per cent, have been fully vaccinated, the KDCA said.