SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- South Korea reported 1,014 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Wednesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 46,453.

The daily caseload stayed above 1,000 for two straight days for the first time, after posting the record daily number of 1,078 the previous day.

The daily number of COVID-19 infections hovered above 100 for 40 days since Nov. 8 due to small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases.

The cluster infections were linked to religious facilities, nursing homes, workplaces, and schools as well as gatherings among families and acquaintances.

Of the new cases, 420 were Seoul residents and 284 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.

Twenty-one were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 5,006. Twenty-two more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 634. The total fatality rate stood at 1.36 percent.

A total of 663 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 33,610. The total recovery rate was 72.36 percent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 3.53 million people, among whom 3,393,129 tested negative for the virus and 99,258 are being checked.