S. Korea raises coronavirus alert level to 'highest'

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 23 2020 03:58 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2020 07:17 PM

Employees from a disinfection service company sanitize the floor of a shopping center in Daejeon, South Korea, February 22, 2020. Yonhap via Reuters

SEOUL - South Korea is raising its alert level on the new coronavirus to the "highest", President Moon Jae-in said Sunday, in the face of a sudden spike in the number of infections.

"The COVID-19 incident faces a grave turning point. The next few days will be crucial," Moon said following a government meeting on the virus.

"The government will raise the alert level to the highest level according to experts' recommendations," he added.

South Korea has seen a rapid surge in the number of coronavirus cases in recent days after a cluster of infections emerged from a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu last week.

The national toll of 556 cases is now the highest outside China, apart from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

© Agence France-Presse