SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported its seventh fatality from the new coronavirus and 161 new confirmed cases on Monday, bringing the total infections here to 763.
A 62-year-old man, who is tied to a hospital in the southeastern county of Cheongdo, died of the virus on Sunday, health authorities said.
So far, seven people have died in South Korea from the new virus since its first outbreak in late January.
Two clusters of infections -- at a branch of a religious sect in the southeastern city of Daegu and a hospital in its neighboring county of Cheongdo -- have continued to rise sharply, taking up more than half of the total cases in the country.
Of the 161 new cases, 142 are in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province. Another three were reported in Seoul, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
On Sunday, South Korea raised the virus alert level to the highest of "red," marking the first such threat level since the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 swine flu.
The top alert level allows authorities to order the temporary shutdown of schools and cut flights from and to South Korea.
The education ministry has instructed all kindergartens and schools to delay their new semester by a week in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading more widely.
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