South Korea sees biggest spike in coronavirus cases since March
South Korea has reported its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases since early March as clusters of cases from churches around the capital Seoul have prompted new restrictions amid concerns of a nationwide wave of infections, Reuters reports.
The 297 new infections reported on Wednesday mark the sixth straight day of triple-digit increase in a country that has managed to blunt several previous outbreaks.
The national tally rose to 16,058 infections with 306 deaths, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We're in a desperately dangerous crisis where infections are spreading in the Seoul metropolitan area and threatening to lead to a massive nationwide transmission," Vice Minister of Health Kim Gang-lip told a briefing.
"The government cannot contain the current spread only with tracing and isolation ... please stay home unless you need to go out."
Officials have also enforced stronger physical distancing restrictions for Seoul, Incheon and nearby Gyeonggi province that prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
Nightclubs, karaoke rooms, buffet restaurants, computer gaming cafes and other "high-risk" facilities will be shut, while churches will be required to conduct all their worship services online.
Al Jazeera's Rob McBride, reporting from Seoul, said the capital and surrounding areas were "back at phase-two restrictions on a three-scale level".