Dec 12, 2020 - World

South Korea reports record high 950 daily COVID-19 cases

Picture of a woman in South Korea wearing a mask
Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea on Saturday reported its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic got underway, with 950 new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

By the numbers: South Korea has a total of 41,736 coronavirus accumulated cases and 578 confirmed deaths, and the number of daily cases has been increasing since November.

Details: About 680 of the new cases can be traced to Seoul, where transmissions are emerging in hospitals, long-term care facilities, restaurants, saunas, schools and army units, AP reports.

  • Cases were also reported in other urban areas, such as Busan, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan and Daegu, a southeastern city that was the hotspot of the spring outbreak.
  • Officials loosened the country's social distancing mandates in October, but have since restored some restrictions, including shuttering nightclubs and limiting restaurants to delivery and takeout service.

What they're saying: South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the country's surge an "emergency situation."

  • "We plan to extensively expand drive-through and walk-through coronavirus testing methods … as preemptive measures to track down infected people and block the spread," he said in a Facebook post, per Reuters.
  • Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the country needs to tighten social distancing restrictions, banning gatherings of more than 10 people, closing schools, halting professional sports and requiring companies to set work-from-home policies.

Zoom out: Tokyo reported 621 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, setting its own record.

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