Schools in South Korea’s capital Seoul are to close again, three months after reopening, due to the dramatically rising Covid-19 caseload, the education ministry said on Tuesday.
Except for the highest grade, which is preparing for final exams, all students are to switch to online teaching, after at least 193 students and teachers were tested positive in the Seoul area.
Kindergartens are to temporarily close as well.
Though South Korea has dealt with the pandemic without a large-scale lockdown so far, authorities worry that the situation could get out of control.
“The number of infection clusters has risen recently and at a very high speed,” said Kwon Jun Wook, Deputy Director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of new infections rose in three-digit figures for the 12th consecutive day, with 280 new infections registered on Monday, according to health authorities.
Most new infections were registered in Seoul, the surrounding province of Gyeonggi and the western coastal city Incheon.
New clusters were prevalent especially among church members, prompting the authorities recently to restrict the rules for gatherings and religious services.
Since the beginning of the month, 900 new infections have been recorded at the Sarang Jeil church in northern Seoul alone.
The total number of infections rose to almost 18,000, with 310 coronavirus-related fatalities.