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Seoul church emerges as new coronavirus infection cluster, with 32 confirmed cases

All News 15:41 March 31, 2020

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- A total of 32 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been linked with a church of a fringe Protestant sect in Seoul, authorities said Tuesday, raising concerns over cluster infection in the populous capital.

Of the total, 25 patients are followers of Manmin Central Church, located in the southwestern Seoul ward of Guro, while the remaining seven are their family members and friends, according to the Seoul metropolitan government.

The number of confirmed cases at the church has risen quickly since the first case was reported last Wednesday.

Health authorities have traced the closed contacts of 487 church members and their acquaintances, including 444 people who tested negative for the virus and 11 awaiting test results.

The church has held online services since early March, but some of its members have held meetings for the filming and production of online services, according to city officials.

It has emerged as a new hot spot of infections in Seoul, which has a population of 10 million, following nearly 100 cases at a call center in Guro.

South Korea's capital city has reported a cumulative 450 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 as of Tuesday, while the country's total stands at about 9,800 patients.

This photo, taken March 28, 2020, shows Manmin Central Church in the southwestern ward of Guro where cluster infections occurred. The ward office has temporarily closed the church. (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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