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SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s new virus cases fell below the threshold of 50 on Saturday, but cluster infections continued to persist in the greater Seoul area, putting strains on health authorities’ efforts to fight the pandemic.
The country added 49 new cases, including 44 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,051, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Of the locally transmitted cases, all but one came from Seoul and surrounding areas.
One of the newly added cases reported a day earlier later retested negative.
While new virus cases have been plateauing in other areas, the metropolitan area that is home to half the country’s population of 50 million has been suffering from a string of cluster infections tied to religious gatherings, a distribution center and sports facilities.
Late last month, the country implemented two weeks of tougher virus prevention guidelines for the metropolitan area, with measures including shutting down public facilities and regulating bars and karaoke rooms.
Earlier this week, however, South Korea decided to indefinitely extend the deadline previously set for Sunday, as nearly all locally transmitted cases have been reported in the metropolitan area this month.
The measure will be in place until the number of new cases falls back to a single