Toughest virus curbs in force in Seoul

·1-min read

South Korea has recorded 1100 new coronavirus cases for July 11, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) says, as the country's toughest anti-COVID curbs take effect in Seoul in a bid to quell its worst-ever outbreak.

The number was the highest ever recorded on a Sunday, KDCA data showed, though below three consecutive days of peaks leading up to 1378 on Friday.

Starting on Monday, the government has imposed the strictest level of social distancing in Seoul and neighbouring areas for the first time, including a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6pm.

The new wave of infections has so far brought fewer serious cases and deaths than earlier rounds, with many older and more vulnerable South Koreans now vaccinated against the virus.

The latest outbreak brings South Korea's total COVID-19 cases to date to 169,146, with 2044 deaths, well below numbers seen in many other industrialised countries.

But health authorities have expressed concerns over the rising number of young patients who have not yet received vaccine shots, and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant in recent outbreaks.

KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said a new study estimated that the number of confirmed daily cases would only start to decline after reaching about 2300 by mid-August.

"If the spread of the infection is strongly controlled, the number of daily cases is estimated to remain at current levels for the next two weeks and then begin to decrease to about 600 cases by the end of August," Jeong told a briefing on Monday.

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