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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases tick up amid pandemic slowdown

People walk past the
People walk past the "season off" signs of a department store in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

South Korea reported an uptick in new coronavirus cases Tuesday, with the COVID-19 pandemic loosening its grip.

The country added 9,896 new COVID-19 infections, including 119 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 18,339,319, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

While the pandemic curve is generally trending downward, Tuesday's tally is up 593 cases from a week ago and 125 from two weeks ago, a possible indication that the pace of decline is slowing.

South Korea's daily COVID-19 cases have steadily decreased to stay below 10,000 since June 10 after hitting more than 620,000 in mid-March.

The KDCA reported five more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 24,530. The fatality rate stood at 0.13 percent.

The number of critically ill patients came to 62, down by six from a day ago.

Of the 9,777 locally transmitted cases, Seoul accounted for 2,467 cases, with the surrounding Gyeonggi Province reporting 2,571 cases. There were 451 infections in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul. The three areas accounted for 56 percent of the total infection cases.

In April, the government removed most social distancing restrictions, except the indoor mask requirement, as new infections continued to fall.

Still, the government extended the self-isolation mandate for COVID-19 patients until July 17 over concerns that eased rules could prompt another virus resurgence.

Health authorities warned an uptick could occur for the time being due to waning vaccine effectiveness. (Yonhap)

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