Video Duration 01 minutes 56 seconds

Coronavirus: South Korea raises alert level to highest

The president puts the country on ‘red alert’ due to the rapid rise in new cases, which are largely being traced back to church services.

South Korea has raised its disease alert to the highest level after a surge in coronavirus infections and two more deaths, while Chinese state media warned the outbreak had yet to reach a turning point despite some signs of easing.

South Korea’s president said on Sunday he was putting the country on “red alert” due to the rapid rise in new cases, which are largely being traced back to church services. Health officials reported 169 new infections, bringing the total to 602, having doubled from Friday to Saturday.

The escalation in the alert level allows the government to send extra resources to Daegu city and Cheongdo county, which were designated “special care zones” on Friday.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said it also enables the government to forcibly prevent public activities and order the temporary closure of schools, though the government gave no immediate details on what steps could be taken.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reports from Cheongdo county.