South Korea sees record rise in daily cases

A medical professional takes samples from people at a testing centre in Seoul
The country has introduced new restrictions amid a rise in cases

South Korea has recorded a new high in the number of coronavirus cases, with 950 infections announced on Saturday.

President Moon Jae-in said the country was facing “an emergency situation” and vowed to strengthen testing and tracing in response

“This is the last hurdle before the roll-out of vaccines and treatments,” he said.

Most of the new cases have been in the capital Seoul and the surrounding areas.

The region is home to around half of South Korea’s population.

In recent days, the country has recorded between 500 and 600 new daily infections.

Earlier this week, South Korea raised its level of alert amid a third wave of cases.

New measures, which came into effect on Tuesday, include a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people. Gyms and karaoke bars have been closed, while restaurants are only allowed to offer deliveries after 21:00 local time.

However, the government has warned that restrictions could be raised to the highest level, which would see gatherings limited to 10 people, school closures and all but essential roles working from home.

South Korea has recorded more than 41,000 cases and 578 deaths since the pandemic began.

The country initially saw a huge spike in infections in February, after a religious group in the city of Daegu was identified as a virus cluster.

Unlike many countries in Europe and elsewhere, however, the South Korean government has avoided nationwide lockdowns and has instead focused its efforts to contain the virus on testing and contact tracing.

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