South Korea is raising its alert on the new coronavirus to the highest level, President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday, as the country reported 123 new infections.
On Sunday, South Korea reported 123 new cases and two deaths, taking the countrywide toll to four.
South Korea has been reported as the most virus-hit country outside of China after the number of cases in the country surged to 433 doubling its total in a single day.
229 new covid -19 cases were reported on Saturday adding to the concerns that another Asian country is losing control of the outbreak.
“The COVID-19 incident faces a grave turning point. The next few days will be crucial,” said president Moon following a government meeting on the virus.
“The government will raise the alert level to the highest level of ‘grave’ according to experts’ recommendations and drastically strengthen our response system,” he added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that more than 77,794 people are infected with the deadly virus, with over 2,348 deaths in China and 11 deaths outside of China.
The surge in cases of coronavirus in South Korea adds to fears among health officials that the virus, which has spread to 28 countries, could turn into a global epidemic.
The country has more than half of the cases are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, and more than a thousand members have reported potential symptoms of the virus. The area surrounding the church in Daegu, a major city in South Korea, has become empty as people evacuated and businesses are closed.
WHO reported 1,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus outside China; multiple infections in the US, Italy, Iran, and the UAE; and one in Egypt, the first to be confirmed on the African continent. The highest death toll outside of China is in Iran, with six deaths.
According to reports of health officials, panic is spreading in Israel, where a woman, who was onboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive after returning home.