August 21, 2020 12:30
Korea reported more than 200 new coronavirus infection for a fourth day running on Thursday as infections traced to Sarang Jeil church in Seoul continued to spread across the country.
The Presbyterian church's rightwing leader and members attended a government rally in downtown Seoul on Aug. 15, which drew a huge crowd of protesters. Health authorities are also tracing others who were at the rally, so infections will likely keep rising.
That prompted the Seoul city government to tighten social-distancing rules and ban gatherings of more than 10 people until the end of this month.
Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told reporters on Thursday, "We face a volatile situation where group infections in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province could turn into a nationwide crisis any time."
Seoul, surrounding Gyeonggi Province and the port city of Incheon had already banned gatherings of more than 50 people since Wednesday. There are rising fears of another lockdown that will cost the economy billions and keep schools closed.
Busan, which saw 15 new cases on Wednesday, closed down seven beaches.
As of Friday morning, 315 new cases had been reported, bringing the total to 16,670.
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