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Alert to Highest Level in South Korea

Alert to Highest Level in South Korea

South Korea’s government put the country’s response to COVID-19 on its highest alert Sunday and health officials say the number of confirmed cases of the disease has risen to over 600.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said authorities raised the “COVID-19 alert level to the highest of ‘Red’ to strengthen the overall response system.” Doing so allows the government to order the temporary closure of schools and reduce travel operations, including public transport and flights to and from South Korea, according to the Associated Press.

There are now more than 78,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide with more than 76,000 reported in China, according to a virus tracker maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Outside China, South Korea has one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. At least 691 people who were on a cruise ship in Japan that was later quarantined have tested positive for the virus, according to the Japan Times as of Sunday.

South Korea reported 602 confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon, including five people who died, 18 who have been discharged and 579 who are being kept in isolation, according to the KCDC. There are now six deaths nationwide linked to the virus, according to the AP.

The KCDC has urged anyone who has attended the sect’s services, in addition to the family of anyone belonging to the sect and those who have been in close contact with members of the sect in February to get a consultation with a local health center or reach out to the agency if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Most of South Korea’s cases have been reported in Daegu and its surrounding areas, according to the AP. Daegu Mayor Kwon Yong-jin said Sunday that there were concerns that the city could see another massive increase in cases as authorities investigated church members.

The KCDC has also recommended minimizing social gatherings and outdoor activities “as people with chronic disease and over 65 years old are vulnerable to infection.”

Source from TIME magazine

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