• S. Koreans Face Extended Social Distancing As New Cases Top 1,700 For Second Day
(Photo: Yonhap)

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Thursday reported 1,776 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours and two additional virus-related fatalities.

The latest figures pushed South Korea's total caseload since the start of the pandemic to 205,702.

The death toll rose to 2,109. The fatality rate came to 1.03 percent.

Since July 7, the daily caseload has remained above 1,000, fueled by outbreaks in the densely-populated greater Seoul area.

Local infections have also spread to areas outside the capital region amid increased activities and summer travel.

The battle against COVID-19 has also gotten harder with rising cases of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Health authorities are expected to extend the current social distancing rules, including bans on group gatherings and restrictions on business hours, which have been in place since mid-July for another two weeks.

Officials said a decision will be made Friday.

Meanwhile, the government is working to reach its target of administering at least once vaccine dose to 36 million people, or 70 percent of the population, by September in hopes of reaching herd immunity.

So far, 20.3 million have received their first shots.

The vaccination drive is set to expand to people aged 18 to 49 later this month.

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