Coronavirus Infections Rise to Fresh High

      August 27, 2020 10:20

      A quarantine worker disinfects a hallway at the government complex in Seoul on Wednesday, after a staffer there tested positive for coronavirus. /Yonhap

      Coronavirus infections rose above 400 in Korea on Thursday, the most since March when mass infections were reported in Daegu.

      Out of 441 cases reported as of Thursday morning, some 315 or most of them came from the Seoul metropolitan area -- 154 in Seoul, 102 in Gyeonggi Province and 59 in Incheon. But an increasing number of new cases were reported throughout the country including 39 in the southwestern city of Gwangju.

      The trend raises fears of a second nationwide lockdown that could cripple the economy and negate any progress toward normality the country had hoped to make.

      There are also fears of a shortage of hospital beds. Officials in Gyeonggi Province said 96.7 percent of its 570 hospital beds set aside for COVID-19 patients are filled, prompting them to instruct infected people with minor symptoms to self-isolate at home.

      Jung Eun-Kyeong, the chief of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Korea faces a "grave situation" amid fears of a shortage of medical staff to treat the soaring number of coronavirus patients because many doctors are on a three-day strike.

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