INCHEON, June 1 (Yonhap) -- At least 18 infections traced to a local church were reported in the western port city of Incheon on Monday, raising alerts over additional new coronavirus cases in the wider metropolitan area.
The patients, including 11 pastors and some of their wives and church members, were found to have attended a religious event at a church in the Incheon ward of Michuhol on Thursday, according to city officials.
In addition to the 18 who have tested positive, health authorities are checking 12 others for the virus.
The participants, who came from churches in Incheon and nearby Gyeonggi Province, are assumed to have contracted the infectious virus from a 57-year-old pastor who attended the event.
"Most of the patients were found not to have worn face masks during the church event," said an official at the government office of Michuhol Ward, adding the infected church did hold a Sunday service over the weekend.
Authorities have yet to identify the infection route of the 57-year-old, who started showing symptoms Thursday.
Officials said they plan to tighten inspections at religious facilities over their quarantine circumstances and track others who may have come in contact with the 18 patients.
South Korea reported 35 new cases Monday, bringing its total COVID-19 caseload to 11,503.
Of the 35 cases, 30 cases were local infections that were reported in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province. The remaining were imported cases.
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