South Korea becomes biggest coronavirus center outside China

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea reported 161 more coronavirus cases Monday, February 24, taking the nationwide total to 763 and making it the world's largest total outside China.

The country has seen a rapid surge in the number of coronavirus cases since a cluster of infections emerged from a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu last week.

Most of the country's cases are connected to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southern city of Daegu, including 129 of Monday's confirmations, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

Two more people had died, it added – both of them connected to a second cluster around a hospital in Cheongdo – taking the toll to 7. 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday, February 23, raised the country's virus alert to red, the highest level, in a bid to strengthen the government response to the spiraling outbreak. 

The government has extended kindergarten and school holidays by one week nationwide and plans to enforce tighter two-week monitoring of arrivals from China. –