South Korea reports largest jump in new coronavirus cases since March

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2020

South Korea accused the leader of a religious sect on Sunday of violating self-isolation rules and obstructing investigations into the country's biggest coronavirus outbreak in five months.

South Korea has reported 279 new coronavirus cases in the highest daily jump since early March, as fears grow about a massive outbreak in the greater capital region.

Aside from the infections linked to the church, there were also smaller clusters, including some 30 cases linked to a Starbucks outlet in the city of Paju, north of Seoul.

The health ministry stated it will submit a grievance versus Jun in the future Sunday, implicating him of breaking self-isolation guidelines by taking part in a rally on Saturday and "obstructing" epidemiological examination by stopping working to send a complete list of church members for screening and tracing.

Jun's church, Sarang Jeil Church, did not respond to telephone calls from Reuters seeking comment.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the street on the August 15 liberation day on Tuesday, protesting against President Moon Jae-in's policies and defying a ban on rallies in the capital. The government is pushing charges against an outspoken conservative pastor who participated in Saturday's marches along with his followers despite his northern Seoul church being tied to 249 Covid-19 infections as of Sunday afternoon. The secretive group was linked to 36% of South Korea's total cases, and on Aug.1, South Korean authorities arrested its founder, Lee Man-hee, for allegedly hiding crucial information from contact-tracers.

The surge in COVID-19 cases prompted authorities on Sunday to reimpose tighter social distancing curbs, and President Moon Jae-in warned of "stern and strong measures" against "some churches", calling their behavior an "unforgivable act that threatens public lives".

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