Asia-Pacific

South Korea reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Coronavirus infection rates in South Korea are declining. Source: Getty

South Korea is recording fewer and fewer new cases of the coronavirus, boosting hopes the outbreak is abating.

South Korea has reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since the peak on February 29 and the extended downward trend in daily infections has boosted hopes Asia's largest outbreak outside China may be easing.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said there were 64 new cases on Monday, taking the national tally to 8961. The death toll rose by one to 110.

The new numbers marked the 12th day in a row the country has posted new infections of around 100 or less, compared with the peak of 909 cases recorded on February 29.

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea Source: AP
South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea
AP

In contrast, 257 patients were released from hospitals where they had been isolated for treatment, the KCDC said. South Korea posted more recoveries than new infections on March 13 for the first time since its first case was confirmed on January 20.

South Korea has some of the world’s most comprehensive protective measures in place, according to experts.

"The most conspicuous part of the South Korean strategy is simple enough: test, test and test some more," Associate Professor in Urban Economic Development at University College London said.

"The country has learned from the 2015 outbreak of MERS and reorganised its disease control system. It has a good, large-capacity healthcare system and a sophisticated biotech industry that can produce test kits quickly."

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