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South Korea reported 346 new COVID-19 cases; gov't doubling tests to prevent 4th wave Updated: 2021-03-08 15:32:38 KST

South Korea reported 3-hundred 46 new cases on Monday after two consecutive days in the 400s.
All but 11 cases were transmitted locally.
With eight additional deaths, the total death toll is now at 1,6-hundred-42.
And the nation's total cases to date stands at over 92-thousand.
The government is on alert because of the sporadic clusters nationwide that have kept daily cases in the three and four hundreds every day for almost two months.

In Anseong, Gyeonggi-do Province, a large cluster of more than 50 cases was reported Monday at a livestock market after testing more than 320 people.
The main cause was a poor work environment where employees live and work together in enclosed spaces.
Many there are still waiting to be tested.

Along with the clusters, the government is also watching a growing number of variant cases not just from overseas, but local as well.

To prevent a potential 4th wave of infections in the spring, the health authorities announced precautionary measures on Sunday and urged people to come to test sites anonymously.
They are doubling tests from 230-thousand a day to around 500-thousand.

"This testing side is right outside one of the busiest subway stations in Seoul. All over the country, the government will be setting up more testing sites like this one where you can just walk right in."

An expert says this measure could help identify areas that the government needs to look into more deeply.

"In order to cover every single corner of our nation. I guess the best way to manage is to increase the number of testing sites and testing numbers as many as we can so we can cause vast majority of whatever we can do really."

The measures also include increasing the availability of hospital beds nationwide to prepare for as many patients as possible if a fourth wave raises daily cases to more than two thousand.
In the meantime, the government will announce new social distancing guidelines this Friday as the current system expires this coming weekend.

Choi Won-jong, Arirang News.
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