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South Korea reports over 600 new coronavirus cases

South Korea reports over 600 new coronavirus cases
Gov't raises alert level to control spike in COVID-19 infections

ANKARA (AA) - The daily number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea exceeded 600 for the second straight day Monday as the country is set to introduced heightened social distancing rules.

The East Asian nation added 615 more COVID-19 cases, raising the total caseload to 38,161, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Four related deaths were also reported, bringing the total to 549.

The uptick has forced health authorities to raise the alert level to 2.5, the second highest under the five-tier system, in the greater Seoul area from Tuesday for the next three weeks.

Gatherings of more than 50 people are banned and facilities such as gyms and karaoke bars will be closed. Restaurants, theatres and other venues majorly used by the public will not operate after 9 p.m.

"The number of confirmed cases was recorded at the 600 range for the second consecutive day despite decreased people taking a virus test on weekend. The figure was not seen before," Yonhap News Agency quoted Health Minister Park Neunghoo as saying.

"Unless we curb the spread of the virus in the greater Seoul area under Level 2.5, we will see an explosive spread of virus infections and the country's medical system will falter, which could cause the social distancing level to be raised to Level 3 in all areas."

The social distancing level was raised to Level 2 in the greater Seoul area about two weeks ago, which includes ban on assembly of 100 or more people, and the suspension of entertainment facilities, such as nightclubs.

The restrictions, however, failed to control the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in has directed the government to mobilize "every available" workforce for thorough tracing of COVID-19 infections, the agency quoted his executive office as saying.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

source: News Feed
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