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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.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns — New cases down
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.