South Korea reported just eight more cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, the first time a daily increase has dropped to single digits in about two months.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the additional figures raised the country’s total to 10,661, including 234 deaths. It said 8,042 people have recovered and been released from quarantine and 12,243 others were undergoing tests to determine whether they had contracted the virus.
“We must not loosen our guard until the last confirmed patient is recovered.” President Moon Jae-in said.
South Korea’s caseload has been waning in recent weeks since it recorded hundreds of new cases every day between late February and early March, mostly in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas.
Despite the recent downward trend, South Korean officials have warned about the possibility of a broader “quiet spread” with people easing up on social distancing.
Moon urged South Koreans to support his government in saving jobs and revitalizing the economy.
“Government efforts alone aren’t enough amid a grave world economic crisis. Public solidarity and co-operation is also needed to revive our economy,” he said.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
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Japan’s Health Ministry confirmed 568 new cases of the coronavirus, raising the nation’s total to 11,073, with 174 deaths.
The actual number of infections is believed to be higher as Japan is only starting to expand its testing capabilities by setting up additional testing centres in Tokyo and elsewhere.
It allows primary care doctors to send suspected patients directly to testing stations.