South Korea tightened social distancing rules on Tuesday as it announced a three-digit rise in novel coronavirus cases for the fifth day and authorities scrambled to locate hundreds of congregation members. As of midnight on Monday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced 246 new cases taking its total infections to 15,761, with 306 deaths.
South Korea was one of the success stories of coronavirus reduction worldwide but in cases it has suffered multiple spikes. Two days after Seoul re-imposed tighter social distancing, the government extended the curbs to include Incheon’s port area, while ordering the closure of nightclubs, karaoke bars, buffets and cyber cafes. This also restricted all in-person church services and indoor gatherings of 50 or more people, and outdoor gatherings of 100 or more.
At least 457 infections have been related to the Sarang Jeil Church, 10 of which have been reported to have participated in anti-government protests in Seoul over the past two weekends, Vice Minister of Health Kim Gang-lip told a briefing. Authorities were trying to locate some 500 other congregation members and warn them and quarantine themselves and get checked because they faced the highest risk of transmission, Kim said.