South Korea govt. urges citizens to stay at home

813 new cases reported on Saturday, taking the country’s tally to 3,150, the highest outside China

Updated - February 29, 2020 09:36 pm IST

Published - February 29, 2020 09:28 pm IST - Seoul

South Korean soldiers moving to spray disinfectant at a railway station in Daegu on Saturday.

South Korean soldiers moving to spray disinfectant at a railway station in Daegu on Saturday.

South Korea urged citizens on Saturday to stay indoors as it warned of a “critical moment” in its battle on the COVID-19 after recording the biggest daily jump in infections, as 813 new cases took the tally to 3,150.

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South Korea is grappling with the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, as a new death took the toll to 17. “We have asked you to refrain from taking part in public events, including a religious gathering or protest, this weekend,” Vice Health Minister Kim Kang-lip told a briefing.

It was a “critical moment” in reining in the spread of the virus, he said, adding, “Please stay at home and refrain from going outside and minimise contact with other people.”

Also Read |North Korean leader calls for stronger anti-virus efforts

657 cases from one city

As many as 657 of the new cases were from southeastern Daegu city, the site of a church at the centre of the outbreak, and 79 from the nearby province of North Gyeongsang, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

In the nearby city of Gumi, LG Display has shut a display module plant for disinfection work until Tuesday, after an employee of a bank in the building tested positive for the virus. Health authorities have run tests on more than 2,10,000 members and 65,000 trainees of the church linked to a majority of cases after a 61-year-old woman known as “Patient 31” attended religious services there before testing positive.

More than 88% have been checked, and about 3,300 have shown symptoms such as fever, Mr. Kim added.

Mr. Kim said the government was working with the municipal authorities to check if the church provided an incomplete list.

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