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CORRECTED-S.Korea reports 271 new COVID-19 cases as tighter curbs to take effect

(Corrects number of cases to 271, from 255, in headline and 2nd paragraph)

SEOUL, Nov 23 (Reuters) - South Korea reported another daily rise of more than 200 new coronavirus cases on Monday, a day after it tightened social distancing rules as it battles a third wave of infection.

The daily tally of 271 new cases fell from 330 reported on Sunday after hovering above 300 for five straight days, a level not seen since August, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Officials have said the numbers tend to drop during the weekends due to less testing.

The government strengthened distancing rules for the capital Seoul and nearby regions on Sunday, closing bars and nightclubs, limiting religious gatherings and restricting on-site dining at restaurants from Tuesday.

The decision came less than a week after the guidelines were tightened ahead of annual college entrance exams scheduled for Dec. 3.

South Korea has been a coronavirus success story after tackling the first major epidemic outside China without major disruption, thanks to an aggressive tracing, testing and quarantine campaign.

But it continues to grapple with persistent cluster infections from offices, nursing homes and small gatherings, prompting authorities last week to declare the country was fighting a third wave of infection.

Total infections are now at 31,004, with 509 deaths, KDCA data showed. (Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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