SEOUL: South Korea was opening dozens of free COVID-19 testing sites in the greater Seoul area, as the country registered additional 718 new cases on Monday (Dec 14) amid a surge in infections.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said the additional cases took the country’s total since the pandemic began to 43,484 infections with 587 deaths. It said about 65 per cent of the new cases were found in the Seoul area, which has been at the center of a recent viral resurgence.
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The additional cases were a drop from the 1,030 cases reported a day earlier, the highest daily increase since South Korea confirmed its first patient in January. Observers say the lower figures for Monday are a result of fewer tests taken over the weekend and that the country’s caseload is expected to surge again this week.
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Starting from Monday, health authorities are to open 150 virus testing centres in the Seoul area in phases. That’s in addition to more than 210 existing test sites.
At the new sites scheduled to run for three weeks, anyone can visit and take free tests. Previously, people wanting to take diagnostic tests on their own have had to pay if they tested negative.
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