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S. Korea again gripped by church-linked cluster infections in greater Seoul area

/ 12:25 PM June 01, 2020

Yonhap via The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

SEOUL — Thirty-five new cases of the novel coronavirus were added to South Korea’s tally Monday, bringing the nationwide total to 11,503, with 921,391 tests conducted so far.

Thirty-three of the cases newly confirmed in the 24 hours ending Sunday midnight were via local transmission, health officials said, while two were detected at airport checkpoints.

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Thirty-one were found in Seoul and the surrounding areas of Gyeonggi Province and Incheon. Daegu and South Jeolla Province each had one.

Authorities said the 18 patients in Incheon appear to be linked to a protestant church pastor, 57, who had tested positive the previous day. The 57-year-old had visited 10 churches in the Incheon area while still infectious, infecting 11 other pastors.

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Authorities believe the latest outbreak in Incheon occurred at a church gathering in the city’s central district of Michuhol-gu on Thursday. District officials said participants did not wear face masks at the meeting.

The Health Ministry has said about 6 to 7 percent of new daily cases in the past month were from unidentified sources.

The Interior and Safety Ministry said as of Sunday, the number of people under home quarantine orders reached 37,812, an increase of 1,600 from the day before. Among them, 28,924 are recent overseas travelers and 8,888 are contacts of locally infected patients.

A total of 480 people have violated quarantine orders, with 12 of them wearing noncompulsory movement-tracking wristbands designed for monitoring movements of quarantined individuals.

In the last 24 hours ending Sunday midnight, one more patient died from the infection. The death toll now stands at 271.

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