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South Korea raised virus alert to the highest level, becomes biggest virus-hit outside China

South Korea reported 161 more coronavirus cases Monday, 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 -- adding more than 700 cases in less than a week -- since a cluster of infections emerged from a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu.

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

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

Health authorities will check about 28,000 people in Daegu -- South Korea's fourth-biggest city, with a population of 2.5 million -- and residents were asked to stay at home.

"Please minimise going outside for at least two weeks," vice health minister Kim Gang-lip urged them.

Korean Air said it had suspended all of its flights to Daegu until the end of March "due to the coronavirus", while Asiana Airlines said it would suspend its Daegu-Jeju route on Tuesday.

Source: AFP News, Yahoo

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