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