South Korea reports 98 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 8,897

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a wall painting at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, on March 21, 2020.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a wall painting at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, on March 21, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea reported 98 new coronavirus cases on Sunday (March 22), maintaining a downward trend in daily infections, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

The daily tally brought national infections to 8,897 while the death toll remained unchanged at 104. It marked the 11th day in a row the country has posted new infections of around 100, compared with the peak of 909 cases recorded on Feb 29.

But Seoul officials have urged facilities to stay closed and citizens to maintain social distancing, as concerns of imported cases and new outbreaks around small clusters persisted. 

Of the new cases, 43 were from the hardest-hit city of Daegu, while 26 were traced to the greater Seoul area where small outbreaks from hospitals and workplaces have been reported. 

On Saturday, the country reported 147 new coronavirus infections, jumping from the previous day's 87 cases.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a televised address on Saturday the government strongly recommended religious, indoor sports and entertainment facilities such as nightclubs suspend operations, and people to avoid socialising and travel for the next 15 days.

While keeping to its policy of voluntary social distancing, it warned of consequences if the rules are not followed to slow the coronavirus outbreak.