South Korea has 10 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

South Korea has 10 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths

People wearing face masks to protect against contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sit a bookstore in central Seoul. Reuters/File

South Korea has reported 10 fresh cases of the new coronavirus, the eighth day in a row its daily jump came below 20, as its outbreak slows amid tightened border controls and waning infections in the worst-hit city of Daegu.

The country also on Saturday reported no new deaths for the second straight day. The figures released from South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday brought national totals to 10,718 cases and 240 deaths.

While a slowing caseload has allowed South Korea to relax its social distancing guidelines over the past week, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun raised concern over possible transmissions by “quiet spreaders” and instructed officials to conduct antibody tests in Daegu and nearby towns to learn how widespread the coronavirus is.

Chung also called for stronger financial tools to ease the epidemic's economic shock, which has caused severe cashflow problems for airlines while also hurting major exporters such as carmakers and shipbuilders.

The government is looking to create a 40 trillion won ($32 billion) fund through bonds issued by state-run banks to protect jobs in key industries, but the plan needs parliamentary approval.

South Korea's economy shrank 1.4% during the first three months of the year, the worst contraction since late-2008, as the pandemic hit both domestic consumption and exports.