South Korea reports eighth COVID-19 death, 60 new cases

09:17 | 25/02/2020
South Korea on Tuesday (Feb 25) reported its eighth death from the novel coronavirus and 60 more cases -  its smallest increase in four days.
south korea reports eighth covid 19 death 60 new cases
South Korea's virus alert level has been raised to 'red' AFP

The country now has 893 cases, said the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) in its morning update.

For the previous three days, KCDC had reported triple-digit increases each morning as the outbreak took hold in South Korea, the world's 12th-largest economy.

Of the new cases, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where a church that was at the centre of the outbreak is located, and 33 from the neighbouring North Gyeongsang province, KCDC said.

Most of the country's infections are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu. A 61-year-old female member developed a fever on Feb 10, but attended at least four church services before being diagnosed.

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday said that the government "will raise the alert level to the highest level of 'grave' according to experts' recommendations and drastically strengthen our response system".

He also urged officials not to hesitate from taking "unprecedented powerful measures" to contain the outbreak.

The escalation in the alert level allows the government to send extra resources to Daegu and nearby Cheongdo – a county that also saw surges in confirmed cases in recent weeks.

The alert level also enables the government to forcibly prevent public activities and order the temporary closure of schools, the health ministry said, though it gave few details of immediate measures.

The outbreak has forced South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics to suspend operations at its smartphone plant in Gumi, 200km southeast of Seoul, after one of its employees was infected at the weekend.

Agencies/AFP

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