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South Korean cases rise, Beijing outbreak stable

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SEOUL, South Korea

South Korea has reported 49 cases of COVID-19 as the virus continues to spread in the densely populated capital area where half of the country’s 51 million people live.

Figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought the national caseload to 12,306 infections, including 280 deaths. It said 26 of the new cases came from capital Seoul and the nearby port city of Incheon. Seventeen of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.

South Korea has been reporting around 30 to 50 new cases per day since late May, inspiring second-guessing on whether officials were too quick to ease social distancing guidelines in April after the country’s first wave of infections waned.

Health authorities have been scrambling to stem transmissions in the greater capital area where hundreds of cases have been linked to leisure and religious activities, e-commerce employees and door-to-door salespeople.

Beijing outbreak

New confirmed cases of coronavirus remained stable in China’s capital on Friday after a public health official declared Beijing’s latest outbreak under control.

Beijing recorded 25 new cases, up by just four from Thursday, out of a total of 32 cases reported nationwide. A city transport spokesman said bus service between Beijing and other provinces would be suspended starting Friday to try to prevent the outbreak’s spread.

Classes in the city have also been suspended and reopening plans for sports and other events are on hold. More than 360,000 tests for the virus have been carried out in recent days, according to city health authorities.

A health official said the outbreak was large because it spread from Beijing’s main wholesale market. Beijing has confirmed 183 new cases over the past week as of Friday, but Wu Zunyou from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said daily numbers should soon begin to decline.

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