South Korea’s domestic COVID-19 cases fall to lowest in 44 days

SEOUL: South Korea on Saturday (Sep 26) reported 49 new domestic coronavirus cases, the smallest number of locally transmitted cases in 44 days in a sign that tighter social distancing rules are paying off.

Health officials reiterated calls on people to refrain from visiting their hometowns and meeting with relatives during the Chuseok holiday, worrying that the holiday, which runs from Sep 30 to Oct 2, may lead to another spike.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 61 new coronavirus cases as of midnight on Thursday, including 49 local cases, mostly in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi Province.

This brings the country’s total to 23,516, while deaths increased by 4 to 399.

READ: Seoul schools resume in-person classes as South Korea COVID-19 cases dip

South Korea’s success in crushing early outbreaks of the coronavirus was partially reversed by its biggest outbreak in mid-August that began at a church and a political rally.

Cases peaked at 441 in a single day in late August but are posting steady declines since tougher social distancing curbs have taken effect.

South Korea on Friday said it would further tighten restrictions during the Chuseok holiday weeks when people traditionally reunite with families in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

The rules include the closure of nightclubs and bars in the Seoul area and keeping at least a 1m distance between tables at restaurants and cafes with more than 20 seats.

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