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South Korea reports zero new domestic coronavirus cases for first time since February

For a time the country had the world’s second-largest outbreak.

South Korean Buddhists pictured during a service to celebrate Buddha's birthday at the Chogyesa temple in Seoul, South Korea. 30 April
South Korean Buddhists pictured during a service to celebrate Buddha's birthday at the Chogyesa temple in Seoul, South Korea. 30 April
Image: Ahn Young-joon/AP/Press Association Images

SOUTH KOREA REPORTED zero new locally transmitted coronavirus cases today, the first time no infections have been recorded since the disease was detected in the country more than 70 days ago.

Health authorities reported one new death, taking the toll to 247.

The country has seen 10,765 cases since its first infection was reported on 18 February.

For a time it had the world’s second-largest outbreak before the spread was brought under control through widespread testing and a contact-tracing drive, along with widely observed social distancing.

With a dwindling number of cases, the South held a national election on 15 April, becoming among the first countries with a major outbreak to do so since the global pandemic began.

The election was run with a raft of safety measures in place, including a requirement that voters wear face masks and gloves.

It saw the highest turnout for a generation and handed President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic party a parliamentary majority in what was seen as recognition of officials’ handling of the outbreak.  

“For the first time in 72 days, we have zero new domestic cases,” President Moon posted on his Facebook account.

No one had been infected at polling stations, he added.

“This is the strength of South Korea and its people,” the president said.

Other parts of Asia have also seen success in bringing outbreaks under control, with Hong Kong going five days with zero new infections and Taiwan four days as of today.

© AFP 2020 

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