76 new coronavirus cases reported in S. Korea, 1 in 4 ‘imported’

/ 03:52 PM March 24, 2020


SEOUL — South Korea reported 76 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with total infections reaching 9,037, amid the government’s efforts to counter the growing number of infections arriving from abroad.

Of the new cases, 20 cases, or 26.3 percent, were identified during the quarantine screening at the airport for travelers arriving from abroad, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The government on Sunday began to test all incoming travelers from Europe — citizens and foreign nationals alike — for COVID-19 upon their arrival. It is reviewing whether to expand the quarantine screening to incoming travelers from other parts of the world.

Some 1,444 people who arrived here from Europe on Sunday were tested for the virus. Among them, 19 people tested positive and were transferred to nearby hospitals, according to health authorities.


Some 1,203 people arrived in Korea from Europe on Monday, with 101 of them having shown symptoms.

Yoon Tae-ho, an official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, reiterated at a briefing on Tuesday that free testing for the virus and medical treatment for those arriving from Europe — for both citizens and foreign nationals — is for the sake of preventing “greater damage.”

Currently, the testing and medical treatment expenses are covered by the state budget.

Despite the country seeing fewer than 100 new cases for the third consecutive day, Yoon called on the public to stick to tougher “social distancing.”

“The number of daily new cases is not that significant,” Yoon said.

Of the new cases, 31 were reported in Daegu, the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak, 15 in Gyeonggi Province, four in Seoul, two in Busan and one each in Incheon, North Gyeongsang Province, South Gyeongsang Province and North Chungcheong Province. The cases in Daegu represent 71.3 percent of the country’s total.

The death toll rose by nine to 120, with the overall fatality rate standing at 1.33 percent, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death rate is 6.25 percent for those in their 70s and 12.97 percent for those in their 80s.


Some 3,507 people were discharged from quarantine, up 341 from the previous day. So far, a total of 348,582 people were tested for the virus, with 324,105 having tested negative. Some 15,440 people are awaiting test results.

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