S.Korea new coronavirus cases dip from record high

·1-min read
People wait in line for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a testing site which is temporarily set up at a public health center in Seoul

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea reported 1,324 new coronavirus cases as of midnight on Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Sunday, down from a record 1,378 the day before as the country battles a surge of infections.

Reported cases often dip over weekends with fewer tests conducted, and authorities have warned that cases may continue to rise.

The new surge in cases has seen far fewer serious infections than earlier waves, with many of South Korea's older and more vulnerable residents vaccinated against the virus.

Overall about 11% of South Korea's 52 million population has completed vaccination, including receiving both shots for vaccines requiring two doses, while 30% have received one dose, with the spike in cases being largely driven by younger, unvaccinated people, according to the KDCA.

The surge has prompted officials to mandate the strictest level of social distancing in Seoul and neighbouring regions for the first time, starting on Monday.

South Korea's total COVID-19 infections to date stand at 168,046, with 2,043 deaths.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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