South Korea reported 583 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, the biggest daily caseload since early March, as health officials struggled to contain a third wave.
South Korea reported more than 800 daily cases in late February, when a mass infection clustered around a church in the southeastern city of Daegu set off a first wave. The second wave hit the country in August, with cases peaking at 441, after the virus spread mainly from a church gathering, participants at an outdoor rally and nightclub customers in Seoul.
The latest surge in infections started this month, spreading through smaller clusters across the country, with outbreaks reported in apartment-block saunas, dance halls and military training camps, health officials said.
In the past week, officials have tightened social-distancing rules, banning gatherings of more than 100 people, shutting down nightclubs and allowing only takeout services in coffee shop chains.
“We are now in a situation where virus outbreaks can happen at any place, infecting the young and old, men and women, alike,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said on Thursday. “With the third wave getting bigger and spreading fast, we must strictly follow social-distancing rules.”
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