Novel Coronavirus Cases Soar in South Korea, Surpassing 4,000

March 2, 2020 Updated: March 2, 2020

South Korea now has over 4,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, after the government reported nearly 600 new cases on March 2.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 476 new cases on Monday morning, before logging 123 more cases in the afternoon.

The Korean government also announced four additional deaths due to the virus, including an 87-year-old woman and an 82-year-old man, according to local outlet Yonhap News Agency.

Currently, South Korea has a total of 4,335 known cases of coronavirus and 26 deaths. Among them, 31 have recovered from the virus and been discharged from hospital.

South Korea is now one of the hardest-hit areas by the virus outside of mainland China, having seen its known cases spike dramatically from 104 on Feb. 20.

In the Korean city of Daegu and the broader North Gyeongsang province, the epicenter of South Korea’s outbreak, there are now 3,081 and 624 cases, respectively.

About 57 percent of all confirmed cases in the country are linked to the Shincheonji Church in Daegu, according to Yonhap.

Daegu, home to a population of about 2.4 million people, is located about 186 miles southeast of the capital Seoul.

Many of those cases related to the church have been traced back to a 61-year-old female follower of the church who tested positive for the virus on Feb. 18 as the country’s 31st confirmed case.

On March 1, the Seoul Metropolitan Government stated that it had filed a lawsuit against Lee Man-hee, the founder of the Shincheonji Church, and 11 others associated with the organization. They are accused of committing crimes including homicide and inflicting injury.

On Tuesday, Lee held a press conference and apologized to the public, while voicing support for efforts by local health officials to control the outbreak, according to Yonhap. Lee himself has tested negative for the virus.

Among all the cases in South Korea, Seoul has 91 cases and the coastal city of Busan has 88 cases.

Also on March 2, Yoo Eun-hae, South Korea’s education minister, announced that the opening day for all kindergartens and elementary and secondary schools is to be delayed for two more weeks, according to Yonhap.

The new school year will now begin on March 23, three weeks later than the initial opening-day schedule.

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