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Residents wear masks to curb the spread of the new coronavirus on a street of Beijing on Thursday, June 18, 2020. China's capital Beijing reported a decline in newly confirmed cases of coronavirus Thursday as the city continued to press stricter measures to contain a new outbreak. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

SEOUL, South Korea — The coronavirus continues to spread in South Korea, particularly in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan region, which is home to half the country’s 51 million people.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 49 new cases for the nation Friday, with 26 of them in Seoul and the nearby port city of Incheon. South Korea has had a total of 12,306 infections, including 280 deaths.

Officials have been reporting around 30 to 50 new cases a day since late May, inspiring second guessing on whether officials were too quick to ease social distancing guidelines in April after the country’s first wave of infections waned.

Hundreds of cases in the Seoul area have been linked to leisure and religious activities and low-income workers who can’t afford to stay home.



— Europe sees a rash of new local outbreaks including hundreds of infections at a German meatpacking plant

— China says infections are waning, including at Beijing market