• S. Korea Reports 305 New Virus Cases, 5 Deaths
People stand in line to get tested for COVID-19 at the National Medical Center in Seoul. (Photo: Yonhap News)
People stand in line to get tested for COVID-19 at the National Medical Center in Seoul. (Photo: Yonhap News)
South Korea has reported 305 new coronavirus cases, staying in the 300s for the second day in a row due to fewer tests over the weekend and extended social distancing measures.

Monday's case tally includes 285 local infections confirmed in the last 24 hours and 20 imported from abroad, raising the overall total to 78,508.

Five more virus-related fatalities raised the death toll rose to 1,425.

The number of seriously or critically ill coronavirus patients in the country reached 225, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

New virus cases spiked again over the past week, due mainly to cluster infections from unlicensed education facilities run by the International Mission, a local Christian missionary group.

The flare-up led health authorities on Sunday to extend Level 2.5 social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area and Level 2 measures in other regions for another two weeks until February 14, the last day of the Lunar New Year holiday period.

Gatherings of five or more people are also banned while the restriction on dine-in services after 9 p.m. remains in place for restaurants and cafes.

Authorities said they believe relaxing virus curbs right now runs the risk of another resurgence of COVID-19 as cluster infections have continued to pop up at religious facilities, hospitals and other risk-prone establishments.


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