<p>SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea has confirmed its first cases of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 that was first identified in the UK.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday that the cases were confirmed in a family of three who came to South Korea on December 22.
They arrived a day before South Korea cut 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 in quarantine in South Korea.
South Korea recorded 808 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its national caseload to 57,680 with 819 deaths. This is the second day in a row that South Korea’s daily tally has fallen below 1,000. The country recorded 1,241 cases on Christmas Day, the largest daily jump in South Korea since the start of the pandemic, and 1,132 Saturday.
In recent weeks, South Korea has been grappling with a sudden rise in infections linked to hospitals, nursing homes, churches, prison, family reunions and various other sites. On Sunday, the government said it would spend another week determining whether to enforce its more stringent physical distancing rules in the greater Seoul area which officials say would further hurt the economy.