File Photo: Ryu Seung-Il/ZUMA Wire/dpa via Bernama

SEOUL: South Korea reported 483 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the nation’s total number of infections to 6,767, with most new virus infections still in the southeastern city of Daegu, the epicentre of the virus outbreak here, and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province, reported Yonhap News Agency.

So far, 44 people, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses, have died in South Korea from the respiratory virus that emerged in China late last year, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

About 60 per cent of confirmed cases have been linked to a Daegu branch of the fringe religious sect Shincheonji. Daegu is the country’s fourth-largest city with a population of 2.5 million.

Health authorities, however, have recently shifted their focus to testing ordinary citizens in Daegu, citing an alarming level of community spread in the city.  

Of the 483 new cases, which were detected on Friday, 390 are in Daegu and 65 in North Gyeongsang, the KCDC said.

Other major provinces and cities have also reported some infections, with Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi Province reporting three and 10 more cases, respectively.

Since raising the virus alert level to “red,” the highest level, on Feb. 23, health authorities have focused on halting the spread of the virus in Daegu and North Gyeongsang. – Bernama