This article has been updated with the latest information.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced 84 new cases late on Feb. 25. Earlier in the morning, the Korean government reported a rise of 60 new cases from the previous day.
Three additional deaths were also reported on Feb. 25, bringing the national death toll to 11.
The 11th death was the first foreign national in South Korea to have died from the virus. A 35-year-old male from Mongolia died in a hospital on the outskirts of Seoul, according to the KCDC. He had a history of liver problems.
The 10th death involves a 58-year-old man who died of COVID-19 on Feb. 25 at Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, a county in North Gyeongsang province. Six other deaths are connected to the same hospital.
The country’s ninth death involves a 68-year-old woman who died on Feb. 24 at the Kyungpook National University Chilgok Hospital. She tested positive for the virus on the same day prior to her death.
South Korea now has at least 977 known cases of coronavirus.
South Korea has seen a huge spike in the number of known cases since Feb. 20, when the country’s tally stood at 104. Since then, KCDC has reported triple digits in new cases every single day: 100 cases reported on Friday, 229 cases on Saturday, 169 cases on Sunday, and 231 cases on Monday.
It was only last week, on Feb. 20, when South Korea reported its first death due to the virus.
Of the 144 new cases, 116 are in Daegu and the broader North Gyeongsang province. Daegu is located about 186 miles southeast of the capital Seoul.
Many of the infection cases in Daegu and North Gyeongsang province are connected to Shincheonji Church in Daegu, after a 61-year-old female super-spreader, a member of the church, tested positive for the virus on Feb. 18 as the country’s 31st confirmed case.
Of the country’s 977 cases, 43 are in South Korea’s coastal city of Busan. Among them, 22 are connected to a Christian church in the city’s Dongnae district.
Meanwhile, 82 known cases are in Seoul and the broader Gyeonggi province.
According to KCDC, 22 patients have fully recovered from the virus and have been discharged from hospital.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in was in Daegu on Feb. 25 when he set a deadline this week for the “very grave” situation in the city for a “clear turning point.”
“The government will muster pan-national capabilities and win the fight against the virus together with Daegu and North Gyeongsang province,” Moon said, according to local outlet Yonhap News Agency.
Yonhap also reported that many South Korean companies, including conglomerate SK Group and internet company Kakao, have ordered their employees to work from home.