South Korea Raises 'Highest Level' Alert As Coronavirus Cases Surge

Coronavirus: On Sunday, South Korea reported 123 new circumstances and two deaths. (File)

Seoul:

South Korea is elevating its alert on the brand new coronavirus to the “highest stage”, President Moon Jae-in stated Sunday, because the nation reported 123 new infections.

South Korea has seen a speedy surge within the variety of coronavirus circumstances in current days after a cluster of infections emerged from a spiritual sect within the southern metropolis of Daegu final week.

The nationwide toll of 556 circumstances is now the best exterior China, other than the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

“The COVID-19 incident faces a grave turning level. The subsequent few days shall be essential,” Moon stated following a authorities assembly on the virus.

“The federal government will increase the alert stage to the best stage of ‘grave’ in keeping with consultants’ suggestions and drastically strengthen our response system,” President Moon stated. He additionally urged officers to not hesitate from taking “unprecedented highly effective measures” to comprise the outbreak.

On Sunday, South Korea reported 123 new circumstances and two deaths, taking the countrywide toll to 4.

One of many victims was a affected person being handled for psychological well being points at a hospital in Cheongdo, a southern metropolis linked to the spiritual sect the place round 100 new circumstances have been reported.

Among the many newest infections, 75 concerned the Shincheonji Church of Jesus within the close by metropolis of Daegu, the Korea Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention stated.

Greater than 300 circumstances have been linked to the church, beginning with a 61-year-old lady who developed a fever on February 10 and attended at the least 4 church providers in Daegu earlier than being recognized.

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Some 9,300 Shincheonji members in Daegu have both been quarantined or have been requested to remain at residence, stated KCDC director Jung Eun-kyeong, with greater than 1,240 saying they’d signs.

Daegu — South Korea’s fourth-biggest metropolis, with a inhabitants of two.5 million — reported greater than 90 new circumstances on Sunday, bringing the town’s complete to 247, mayor Kwon Younger-jin stated.

“The disaster stage of Daegu and the North Gyeongsang province is grave,” stated Kwon Younger-jin, who suggested locals to remain indoors.

The mayor requested all Shincheonji members with signs to come back ahead and be examined. Authorities have but to achieve round 670 members of the church.

Shincheonji is usually accused of being a cult, and claims its founder has donned the mantle of Jesus Christ and can take 144,000 individuals with him to heaven on judgement day.

However with extra church members than obtainable locations in heaven, they’re stated to should compete for slots and pursue converts. 

“Hiding isn’t the reply. If you happen to disguise, it might damage your well being, your loved ones’s well being, and won’t assist in the early cessation of the state of affairs,” Kwon stated.

“Elevated warning”

Daegu and Cheongdo — the birthplace of Shincheonji’s founder Lee Man-hee — have been designated as “particular administration zones” on Friday.

Among the many new circumstances have been 18 individuals who lately returned from a bunch pilgrimage to Israel, the KCDC stated.

It was unclear how they’d contracted the an infection, however authorities stated one of many victims have been doubtless uncovered to the virus earlier than their journey, given Israel has reported just one confirmed COVID-19 case up to now.

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Israel has issued an entry ban on South Koreans and refused to permit non-Israelis to disembark from a Korean Air aircraft on Saturday.

The US State Division on Saturday raised its journey advisory for South Korea, becoming a member of a handful of nations bolstering their vigilance after its speedy spike within the variety of infections.

US residents have been requested to “train elevated warning” when travelling to South Korea, the place “sustained neighborhood unfold” has been reported.

“Sustained neighborhood unfold signifies that individuals in South Korea have been contaminated with the virus, however how or the place they turned contaminated isn’t recognized, and the unfold is ongoing,” the State Division stated on its web site.

Individually, the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention additionally issued an “Alert Stage 2” journey well being discover, saying “older adults and people with persistent medical situations ought to contemplate suspending nonessential journey”.

Britain has additionally suggested its nationals “towards all however important journey to Daegu and Cheongdo”.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)