Number of coronavirus cases in South Korea has risen to 556, at least four people have died so far, Yonhap news agency reported citing the health authorities. The number of cases has increased by one third in the past 24 hours.
123 new cases of the novel coronavirus were registered, of which 93 were in the city of Daegu, the epicentre of the outbreak in the country.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CEO Eun Eun-kyung) said that as of 23 February, 123 additional patients were confirmed [with coronavirus] compared to 16:00 on the day before", the statement said.
20 more cases were identified in Gyeongbuk province, while others were registered in the rest of the country.
18 patients have been discharged, and 6,039 are waiting for test results.
Earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Korea said 87 new patients were confirmed with coronavirus as of 22 February.
Most of the cases are related to church services in the city of Daegu, in Gyeongbuk, namely to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. A 61-year-old woman, who reportedly refused to do tests because she never visited China, contracted the disease and spread it among other parishioners of the church. As of today, a total of 306 cases have been traced back to the church.
Restaurants, shops in the back alley of the church, some of which residents said are run by believers, were closed pic.twitter.com/7qabbYwijS— Hyonhee Shin (@HeeShin) February 21, 2020
In response to the outbreak, Daegu has implemented numerous measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including isolating soldiers at military bases. Residents are also being urged to stay home and even wear medical masks indoors.
In mainland China, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 2,300 people.