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S.Korea reports 147 new infections of coronavirus, 8 more deaths

South Korean police officers wearing face masks stand guard near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on March 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea has reported 147 new infections of the coronavirus and eight more deaths, bringing its totals to 8,799 cases and 102 deaths.

    South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 327,509 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of Saturday and 2,612 people have been released from hospitals.

    The country's infections have slowed from early March, when it reported around 500 new cases per day, mostly from the worst-hit city of Daegu and surrounding areas in the country's southeast.

    But there's growing concern over a steady rise of infections in the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea's 51 million people live.

    Health authorities are also alarmed about the possibility that the virus re-enters from abroad amid widening outbreaks in Europe, North America and beyond.

    From Sunday, South Korean authorities will test all passengers arriving from Europe for COVID-19. They will also enforce 14-day quarantines on South Korean nationals returning from Europe and foreigners entering South Korea from Europe on long-term stay visas.

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