SEOUL, April 2 (Yonhap) -- New coronavirus cases reported in areas surrounding Seoul continued to rise on Thursday, heightening the alert over potential mass transmission in the area that is home to nearly half of the South Korean population.
A total of 89 cases were reported nationwide, bringing the country's total to 9,976, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Of the total, new cases in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon reached 35.
While the figure is smaller than the 52 reported Wednesday, the recent trend poses concerns over possible mass transmission in the populous area as the new coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of abating.
The latest cases were assumed to be linked to a church of a fringe religious sect in the southwestern Seoul ward of Guro and to imported cases involving people arriving on international flights testing positive.
With around 70 percent of people arriving from overseas based in the metropolitan area, the government mandated 14-day self-isolation for all people arriving from April 1.
Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in Gyeonggi Province, has also emerged as an infection hot spot, with more than 10 people affected there. The figure is estimated to be higher when including cases that occurred outside of the hospital.
Additional infections among patients, guardians and hospital staff are also feared to occur as testing on around 2,500 people is under way.
The KCDC releases detailed figures on the daily updates at 2 p.m.
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