ANKARA (AA) - A third-wave of novel coronavirus hit South Korean capital Seoul and surrounding areas with a surge in daily cases on Friday, local media said.
"We believe the third wave of the virus infections [in the wider Seoul area] is in progress after seeing such a situation in February-March and August," Yonhap News Agency quoted Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health official, as telling reporters during a briefing.
Over the past 24 hours, the country reported 363 new cases, 218 of which were recorded in the capital areas, which is home to half of the country's 51 million population.
On Wednesday, the country reported over 313 cases for the first time since August.
Following the new spike, the health authorities urged people to refrain from gatherings and outdoor activities.
Local authorities also decided to enforce tightened virus prevention measures for two weeks from Thursday in the greater Seoul area and southern city of Gwangju by raising the social distancing level by one notch to Level 1.5 under a new five-tier scheme, according to the agency.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun also urged the public to refrain from holding year-end social gatherings and nonessential outdoor activities.
South Korea has so far reported 30,017 COVID-19 cases with 501 deaths and 26,263 recoveries, according to the US Johns Hopkins University.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid