Health workers conduct mass coronavirus testing at a high school in Gwangju on Thursday, after a student was confirmed to be infected with the virus. (Photo: Yonhap News)
South Korean health authorities remain concerned about upticks in new coronavirus cases as they prepare to adjust social distancing measures nationwide.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Thursday confirmed 497 new COVID-19 cases from the last 24 hours, including 479 domestic infections and 18 imported from abroad.
Eight more virus-related fatalities were also reported.
The latest figures raised the overall caseload to 76,926, including 1,386 deaths.
The total recovery figure stood at 66,016.
Amid ongoing efforts to contain a third wave of infections, authorities are again battling virus clusters tied to religious facilities.
Over 320 cases have been connected to a training center in Gwangju run by International Mission, and one in Daejeon, with other regions also reporting related outbreaks.
The health ministry and the KDCA are expected to announce by the end of the week whether Level 2.5 social distancing measures in the capital region and Level 2 rules elsewhere will be extended or lowered ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
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