The number of coronavirus infections in South Korea has increased to a whopping 3,536, the highest number outside mainland China where the virus originated, with a total of 17 fatalities, health authorities said here on Sunday. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 376 cases on Sunday of which 333 were reported in Daegu, the epicentre of the outbreak in South Korea, and 26 in the neighbouring North Gyeongsang province, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The number of confirmed cases in South Korea was expected to jump in the coming days as health authorities have begun testing more than 210,000 members of Daegu's Shincheonji Church of Jesus at the centre of the rapid spread, according to the KCDC.
Health authorities suspect that more than half of the country's virus cases were linked with Shincheonji, a home-grown religious sect.
South Korea confirmed its first new coronavirus case on January 20 when a Chinese woman from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, tested positive for the virus.