SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea counted its 11th straight day of triple-digit daily jumps in coronavirus cases Monday after social distancing restrictions were tightened nationwide.
Most of the 266 new cases reported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were in the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s 51 million people, but new infections were also reported in other major cities, including Busan, Daejeong and Sejong.
KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong said it’s likely the country will continue to report huge infection numbers in coming days as health workers scramble to trace and test contacts of virus carriers.
Officials consider the current outbreak South Korea’s biggest crisis since the emergence of COVID-19, given the population density of the capital region and the spread of the virus among various sources.
The country since Sunday has banned larger gatherings, shut down nightspots and churches and removed fans from professional sports nationwide.
In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region:
— China has gone eight days without reporting a new local case of COVID-19, with the Beijing International Film Festival among public events that are returning. The festival being held this week was postponed from April and is being held without a red carpet for the first time. Across the country, theatres have reopened after being closed for months and a Shanghai film festival that ended Aug. 2 drew almost 150,000 viewers to the city’s cinemas. China’s 16 new virus cases reported Monday were all in overseas travellers. China has reported 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 84,967 cases recorded since late last year. The semiautonomous southern Chinese city of Hong Kong, where cases have spiked recently, added 25 new cases and one death to bring its totals to 4,682 cases with 77 deaths.
— Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state on Monday recorded its lowest tally of new coronavirus cases in eight weeks with the state capital Melbourne half way through a six-week lockdown. Victoria reported 116 new cases and 15 deaths. That is the lowest daily tally of new cases since 87 were reported on July 5. Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said although daily case numbers are “jumping around” he expected they were on a downward trajectory. Health authorities have warned that the daily tally would need to fall to single digits or low double digits before the Melbourne lockdown is relaxed.
The Associated Press