A man wearing a face mask to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus has his temperature checked upon his arrival to cast his vote for the parliamentary election at a polling station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 15, 2020. (Photo: AP)
SEOUL, April 18 (Xinhua) -- South Korea reported 18 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Saturday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,653.
The daily caseload fell below 20 for the first time in about two months, hovering below 30 for the sixth consecutive day. Of the new cases, nine were imported from overseas, raising the combined number to 993.
Two more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 232. The total fatality rate came in at 2.18 percent.
A total of 108 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 7,937. The total recovery rate was 74.5 percent.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has updated the data once a day at 10:00 a.m. local time from March 10, after having announced it twice a day.
Except for the first 30 cases, all the infections have been reported since Feb. 18. The country has raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest "red" level.
The total number of infections in Daegu, about 300 km southeast of Seoul, and its surrounding North Gyeongsang province came to 6,830 and 1,358 respectively. It accounted for almost 80 percent of the total.
The numbers in Seoul and its adjacent Gyeonggi province came in at 622 and 654 each.
Daegu became the epicenter of the viral spread here as the biggest cluster of infections was found in the metropolis with a 2.5 million population. Daegu has been designated by the government as a "special disaster zone."
The Daegu cluster was closely linked to the church services of a homegrown minor religious sect, called Sincheonji, in Daegu. Members of the sect are known to sit on the floor closely side by side during church services.
Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 554,000 people, among whom 530,631 tested negative for the virus and 13,550 were being checked.