Seoul, Aug 15 (AP) :
South Korea has reported 166 newly confirmed case of the coronavirus, it’s highest daily jump in five months, as health authorities fear transmissions are getting out of control in the greater capital area that’s home to half of the country’s 51 million people.
The figures announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Saturday brought the national caseload to 15,039, including 305 deaths.
The KCDC said 155 of the new infections were local, mostly from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area where authorities scurried to shut down thousands of churches, which have emerged as a major source of COVID-19 cases.
Many of them had failed to properly enforce preventive measures, allowing worshippers to take off their masks, sing in choirs or eat together in diners.
Other clusters have been tied to nursing homes, schools, restaurants, outdoor markets and door-to-door salespeople.
Government officials have expressed concern that transmissions could worsen due to demonstrations planned by anti-government protesters and labor unionists in Seoul on Saturday, the 75th anniversary of the country’s liberation from Japanese rule at the end of World War II.
The spike could result in stronger social distancing measures at major cities, which they have so far been reluctant to take because of economic concerns. They could include a ban on public gatherings, shutdowns of entertainment venues, and removing fans from baseball and other professional sports, which began to partially let in spectators only in late July.