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South Korea links 623 COVID-19 cases to church


Health personnel take a sample from an officer for a COVID-19 test at the Seoul Metropolitan Police in South Korea on August 19, 2020.


South Korean health workers found more than 600 cases of coronavirus linked to a church led by a critic of the country’s president, and authorities began restricting gatherings in the Seoul metropolitan area for fear the infections could get out of control.

Authorities are also reviewing location data provided by mobile phone operators as they try to track down the thousands of people who participated in an anti-government protest on Saturday, which worsened the spread of the virus, Deputy Health Minister Kim Gang said Wednesday. -lip. The march was attended by members of the Sarang Jeil church and its pastor, the far-right, Jun Kwang-hun, who has been hospitalized since Monday after testing positive for the virus.

According to Kwon Jun-wook, director of the country’s National Institute of Health, after conducting around 3,000 tests, 623 cases have been linked to members of the church. Police are searching for some 600 cult members who cannot be contacted.

Church-based infections have spread to various places thanks to the activity of its members, including call centers, nurseries and other churches.

South Korea reported 297 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, its biggest increase since March 8. It was the sixth day in a row with triple-digit rises, with the majority of infections occurring in the densely populated metropolitan area of ​​Seoul.

Authorities imposed stricter social distancing restrictions in Seoul, neighboring Gyeonggi Province and Incheon City, banning gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and more than 100 outdoors.

Nightclubs, karaoke bars, buffet restaurants, internet cafes and other “high risk” places will close their doors, while churches will have to offer their services over the internet.

On the other hand, India reported 1,092 new deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, its worst daily data. The country is the fourth most affected in the world by the pandemic by number of deaths, and the third by number of infections.

In Nepal, authorities decreed a week-long quarantine in and around the capital Kathmandu on Wednesday following an increase in infections. The population will not be able to leave home, offices and businesses are closed and traffic was suspended except for essential and emergency transfers. The nation confirmed 1,016 new cases on Tuesday, its worst daily data.

Australia closed an agreement to manufacture and distribute the possible vaccine against the coronavirus that is being developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. “Under the agreement, all Australians will be able to receive the University of Oxford vaccine for COVID-19 free of charge, if the trials are successful, safe and effective,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

New Zealand, for its part, appeared to have regained control of a coronavirus outbreak in Auckland after reporting just five new community infections on Wednesday, after conducting a record number of detection tests and contact tracing.