South Korea reports 34 new coronavirus cases, highest in a month

South Korea reported 34 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily number in a month, after a small outbreak emerged around a slew of nightclubs that a confirmed patient had visited. Of the new cases, 26 were domestically transmitted infections and eight were imported cases, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said. Sunday`s total was the highest since April 9. After battling the first major epidemic outside China, South Korea posted zero or very few domestic cases over the past 10 days, with the daily tally hovering around 10 or less in recent weeks.

The outbreak came just as South Korea has eased some social distancing restrictions and is seeking to fully reopen schools and businesses in line with a transition from an intensive social distancing campaign to what it calls “distancing in daily life.” President Moon Jae-in warned of a second wave of the epidemic later this year, saying the recent cluster underscored the risks that the virus which causes COVID-19 can spread widely again at any time.

Widespread testing, intensive contact tracing and tracking apps have helped Asia`s fourth largest economy largely contain the epidemic without extensive lockdowns seen elsewhere. As part of a long-term battle on COVID-19, the KCDC will be given greater power and renamed the Disease Control and Prevention Administration, Moon said. Local governments will set up their own epidemic response system with more experts.