SEOUL, March 26 (Xinhua) -- South Korea reported 104 more cases of COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Thursday local time, raising the total number of infections to 9,241.
The newly confirmed cases stayed above 100 for the second straight day amid the growing imported infections. Of the new cases, 57 were imported from abroad, topping 50 for two days in a row.
Five more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 131. The total fatality rate came in at 1.42 percent.
A total of 414 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 4,144. The total recovery rate gained to 44.8 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.
The virus infection soared for the past weeks, with 9,210 new cases reported from Feb. 19 to March 26. 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 increased to 6,482 and 1,274 respectively. It accounted for over 80 percent of the total.
The numbers in Seoul and its adjacent Gyeonggi province came to 360 and 401 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 364,000 people, among whom 341,332 tested negative for the virus and 14,369 were being checked.