South Korea reported fewer than 50 new coronavirus cases for the first time since its peak at the end of February as daily infections in Asia’s largest outbreak outside China continued to trend downward.
The death toll rose by three to 186, while another 135 people have recovered from the virus for a total of 6,598.
South Korea has largely managed to bring the epidemic under control for now, with around 100 or fewer new daily cases for the past month, but it was the first time the rate of daily cases dropped below 50 since 909 were reported on Feb. 29.
But officials urged even greater vigilance, saying a large epidemic could reemerge at any time, with smaller outbreaks in churches, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as infections among travellers, continuing to arise.
A fall in daily demand for tests to some 6,000 from around 10,000 over the weekend contributed to the decline in numbers, Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said.
“We are taking great caution against any optimistic expectations with this one-off figure,” he told a regular briefing.