Coronavirus infections in South Korea hit nine-month highs as Seoul battles third wave


South Korean authorities urged vigilance on Saturday as small coronavirus clusters emerged in a third wave, centred in the Seoul area, with infections near nine-month highs.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 583 new coronavirus infections, down from the 629 reported on Friday, which was the highest since the first wave peaked in February and early March.

After implementing tighter restrictions on Saturday, the government is to decide on Sunday whether to further tighten curbs in a country that had seen initial success through aggressive contact tracing and other steps.

Infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 averaged 487.9 this week, up 80 cases from the week before. This wave of infections is different from the first two, which were driven by large-scale transmission, said KDCA official Lim Sook-young.

“The recent outbreaks are small, multiple and is spread in people’s everyday lives,” Lim told a news briefing. “Please keep in mind that the current wave is not limited to a specific group or place but may be around our homes, family and acquaintances.”

Seoul accounted for 235 of the new infections. More than half of South Korea’s 52 million people live in the capital and surrounding areas.

Among Seoul’s small but widespread clusters, confirmed cases linked to a dance class rose by nine to 249 in less than two weeks, while 21 people tested positive in a cluster related to a wine bar.

Seoul is dealing with widespread new clusters of the virus.

AFP

Seoul launched unprecedented curfews on Saturday, shuttering most establishments and shops at 9pm local time for two weeks and cutting back public transportation operations by 30 per cent in the evenings.

Tighter restrictions would be a blow to Asia’s fourth-largest economy, which reported a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent in October, the highest since July.

The number of people seriously or severely ill with COVID-19 rose by five to 121, using more of the nation’s swindling sickbeds, KDCA reported.

The health authorities said on Friday there were just 59 sickbeds immediately available for serious or severe cases and that the beds might run out in less than two weeks.

South Korea has reported 36,915 coronavirus infections and 540 deaths, the KDCA said.



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Cycling: Groenewegen gets nine-month suspension for crash with Jakobsen



FILE PHOTO: Cycling – Tour de France – The 230-km Stage 7 from Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone – July 12, 2019 – Team Jumbo-Visma rider Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands celebrates winning the stage. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

November 11, 2020

(Reuters) – The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) on Wednesday suspended Dutch cyclist Dylan Groenewegen for nine months for causing a crash that resulted in compatriot Fabio Jakobsen being placed in a medically induced coma in August.

Groenewegen, who rides for the Jumbo–Visma team, was jostling for position with Jakobsen in the final metres of the first stage of the Tour of Poland when the pair came together.

Jakobsen, 24, crashed into the barriers and collided with a race official. He was taken to hospital and underwent facial surgery while Groenewegen was disqualified.

“The UCI referred (to its disciplinary commission) the case against the rider, who acknowledged that he deviated from his line and committed a violation of UCI regulations,” cycling’s governing body said in a statement.

“The rider collaborated with the investigation and accepted to serve a period of suspension until May 7, 2021, corresponding to a period of nine months from the date of the incident.”

Jumbo–Visma said they were relieved that there is now perspective and clarity.

“It was a crash where the severity of the consequences was unfathomable. Now that the disciplinary case has been concluded, we can start looking forward again. We will do that together with Dylan,” the team said in a statement.

Groenewegen said the crash would “forever be a black page in my career.”

“During the sprint I deviated from my line. I’m sorry, because I want to be a fair sprinter,” he said.

“The consequences were very unfortunate and serious. I’m very aware of that and I hope this has been a wise lesson for every sprinter. I follow the news of Fabio’s recovery closely. I can only hope that one day he’ll return completely.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)





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