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South Korea confirms first cases of more contagious coronavirus variant

South Korea has confirmed its first cases of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 that was first identified in the United Kingdom.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday the cases have been confirmed in a family of three people who came to South Korea on December 22.

They arrived a day before South Korea halted air travel from Britain until December 31 to guard against the new version of the virus.

The three people, who reside in the UK, are under quarantine in South Korea.

READ MORE: The essential COVID-19 vaccine FAQ

South Korea on Monday registered 808 new coronavirus cases, raising its national caseload to 57,680 with 819 deaths.

It’s the second day in a row that South Korea’s daily number of new infections has been below 1,000.

The country logged 1,241 cases on Christmas Day, the biggest daily jump in South Korea since the pandemic began, and 1,132 on Saturday.

In recent weeks, South Korea has been grappling with a sudden spike in infections tied to hospitals, nursing homes, churches, a prison, family gatherings and various other sites.

The government is considering whether to impose tough new social distancing rules on the greater Seoul area, although there’s concern this could cause further damage to the economy.

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