Asia Today: S. Korea reports highest daily tally in 9 months

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A young Newar girl waits for an Ihi ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Ihi is a two-day ceremony performed for girls who have not reached puberty and involves purification rituals and marriage rituals with the Bael (or wood apple). Newari girls are married thrice in their life, to the bael fruit and the sun before marrying a human. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

SEOUL – South Korea has recorded 629 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily tally in about nine months.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Friday that 600 of the newly confirmed cases were domestically transmitted — nearly 80% of them in the densely populous Seoul area, which has been at the center of a viral resurgence.

The cases took the country’s total to 36,332 with 536 deaths.

After successfully suppressing two previous surges this year, South Korea has been grappling with a fresh spike in infections since it relaxed stringent social distancing rules in October. Last week, it toughened those restrictions in the greater Seoul area and other places.

Authorities say they’re struggling to contain the latest bout because it’s tied to a variety of sources.

On Thursday, more than 400,000 students including 41 virus patients took the nationwide university exam at about 1,380 sites, raising worries about a viral spread. Those infected were separated from the others.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India's capital of New Delhi has decided against a night curfew as the number of new cases in the city and elsewhere in the country continued to drop. India reported 36,595 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, maintaining a downward trend for nearly a month. The Health Ministry also reported 540 additional deaths, taking India’s total fatalities to 139,188.


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