Seoul, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- South Korea on Sunday registered more than 1,000 daily Covid-19 cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported that 1,030 new infections were recorded in the last 24 hours taking the total number of cases in the country to 42,766.
With this, the daily number of new infections broke the record for the second day in a row after the 950 infections registered on Saturday.
The KDCA said two more people had died from the novel coronavirus in the last few hours taking the death toll to 580.
The authorities have been considering the possibility of implementing new social distancing restrictions to stop the spread of the virus in addition to those already in force in the capital city of Seoul and the surrounding areas.
In an emergency meeting held on Sunday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the country was facing its “biggest-ever” coronavirus crisis since the arrival of the virus in January.
The fight against the epidemic was in a “crucial phase,” he said.
“There is nowhere to step back,” said the president, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
“It is a desperate time when (the government) should make all-out efforts to stave off the spread of the coronavirus by concentrating all virus control capabilities and administrative power.”
Moon said if the situation continued to worsen, the government would consider the possibility of raising social distancing restrictions to Level 3, the highest in the country’s five-tier Covid-19 alert system, from the Level 2.5 that is now in effect in Seoul and its surroundings.
“It’s hard to imagine the pain and damage that (the people) are going to suffer from the elevation to Level 3,” Moon said.
“This is the last watershed before vaccine and treatment are used. Until then, social distancing is the strongest vaccine and treatment. Enhancing social distancing to Level 3 is the last means (to use).”
Level 3 would not amount to a lockdown, which has been imposed in some parts of Europe and the United States, but seeks to restrict social and business activities.
Under this level, gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited and schools can only offer online classes. EFE-EPA