Greater Seoul in peril over Covid spread, new cases at over five-month high of 297

South Korea’s daily new COVID-19 cases have now soared by three-digit figures for a week straight as the country on Wednesday reported the largest number of cases since early March, with infections traced to churches here continuing to swell.

The country added 297 more COVID-19 cases, including 283 local infections, raising the total caseload to 16,058, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), Yonhap news agency reported.

Over the past week, the daily new virus cases have been in the triple digits, with almost 1,300 cases being newly identified. Wednesday’s daily tally marks the most since March 8, when the country reported 367 COVID-19 cases.

The country implemented enhanced social distancing guidelines as of midnight to stem further spread of the virus.

South Korea was on the verge of putting the COVID-19 pandemic under control, reporting just 56 cases on Thursday.

On the following day, however, the figure shot up to a whopping 103 cases due to group infections from a church in Seoul. On Sunday, South Korea reported 279 new daily infections, marking the first time since early March that the figure surpassed 200.

The country saw more than 100 daily cases in late July as well, but it was attributable to South Korean workers returning home from virus-hit Iraq through chartered flights.

Health authorities, however, say the current situation is worrisome as most of the cases have been locally transmitted, and centered in the capital and neighboring areas, home to half of the country’s 50 million population.

The country has carried out 1,715,064 COVID-19 tests since January 3.