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(LEAD) S. Korea reports 123 more cases of novel coronavirus, total rises to 556

All News 10:33 February 23, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details throughout)

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 123 new cases of the new coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections here to 556.

The number of COVID-19 infections more than doubled in a single day on Saturday, with most cases centered around a religious organization in the country's fourth-largest city of Daegu and a neighboring hospital.

So far, four virus patients have died of the novel coronavirus in the country, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

On Friday, South Korea declared that the southeastern city of Daegu and its adjacent county Cheongdo are "special care zones."

(LEAD) S. Korea reports 123 more cases of novel coronavirus, total rises to 556 - 1

Of the 123 new cases, 75 are related to worship services of the Shincheonji church in the southeastern city of Daegu.

The KCDC said it has placed more than 9,000 Shincheonji members in self-quarantine.

So far, South Korea has released 18 fully recovered novel coronavirus patients from hospitals, the KCDC said.

The number of people being checked for the virus and under quarantine came to 6,039 on Sunday morning, KCDC said. The country has tested a total of 22,633 suspected cases, with 16,038 testing negative.

South Korea confirmed its first new coronavirus case from a Chinese woman from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, on Jan. 20.

The country's 31st patient, a probable "super spreader," had attended the church's worship services in Daegu.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, in a rare public message on Saturday night, reassured people that the virus can be contained if the public cooperates with the government's instructions.


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