South Korea reported 266 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday 258 of which were local transmissions.
97 of them were found in the capital Seoul, 84 in the surrounding Gyeonggi-do Province, and 20 in the city of Incheon, just west of Seoul.
South Korea has seen a daily tally of more than 200 new cases for 7 straight days.
The figure was above 300 for three days in a row from Friday to Sunday.
At the government meeting held Monday to discuss the outbreak, South Korea’s health minister said that the current situation is very grave as it may develop into a nationwide pandemic.
“Over the past three days, we have seen a total of almost 1000 new patients across the country. If we don’t curb the current outbreak, then the pain the public will have to go through and the social costs will snowball. I ask everyone to abide by strict social distancing.”
He called on people to refrain from having unnecessary gatherings or visits and asked firms to cancel get-togethers.
The health minister also urged people to cancel their travel plans, saying the virus could spread to more communities from vacation spots.
South Korea raised its social distancing measures to level 2 for the whole country on Sunday.
Beforehand, only the greater Seoul area was subject to level 2 measures.
The government is considering whether to further raise that level to the highest level of 3, but is cautious because level 3 is close to a full lockdown and could deal another significant blow to the economy.
The authorities say they’ll first see how things pan out this week, as the effect of the current stricter social distancing measures could be seen starting this week.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.