Anchor: Daily new COVID-19 cases in South Korea returned to the 400s amid reports of infection clusters emerging from family gatherings during the recent Lunar New Year holiday and workplace interactions. Authorities will decide adjustments to current social distancing ending this weekend after further observation.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) said as of 12:00 a.m. Wednesday, 440 additional people tested positive for COVID-19, raising the country's cumulative total to 88-thousand-120.
The number of daily new cases, which had climbed back above 600 shortly after the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February, dropped to the 300s earlier this week.
Out of the 440 new cases, 417 were local infections, 292 of which were in the Seoul metropolitan area, with most clusters involving holiday family gatherings and workplace interactions.
As the current social distancing levels - Level Two in the capital area and One-point-Five everywhere else - are set to end this weekend, the government will likely announce on Friday the distancing that will be effective from next week, after further monitoring the situation.
In a bid to prevent a further entry of variant strains, all overseas travelers, including South Korean nationals, are required starting Wednesday to submit negative results of a polymerase chain reaction(PCR) test.
Those without test results will be prohibited entry, and South Korean nationals may be required to go under a 14-day quarantine at a state facility after doing a test, with all costs to be covered by the traveler.
This comes as 128 people, 83 South Korean nationals and 45 foreigners, have tested positive for a new strain of the virus in the country as of Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, which previously said it will not delay the start of the school year in March, announced that first and second graders and kindergartners will be able to attend school everyday.
The lower-grade students will be allowed to participate in in-class learning every weekday when the nation is under Level Two social distancing or below.
Officials also extended the eligibility for schools' autonomous decision on classroom density up to Level Two-point-Five, to include schools with 300 to 400 students that have an average class size of less than 25 students.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.