South Korea counted its fourth straight day of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus cases on Monday as the government urged people to stay home and curb travel.
The government had scheduled a special holiday on Monday with hopes of spurring domestic consumption.
But as infections in the capital region increased, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo urged people to stay home and for residents in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province to avoid visiting other parts of the country for two weeks.
The 197 new cases announced by South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control (KCDC) and Prevention brought the nation’s total to 15,515, including 305 deaths.
The 279 new cases reported on Sunday was South Korea’s biggest single-day jump since early May amid concerns about an outbreak in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.
The KCDC said 167 of the new cases came from the greater capital region, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live.
Health workers have been struggling to track infections, but churches have emerged as a major source.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— India has now counted more than 50,000 deaths from Covid-19, with 941 deaths reported in the 24 hours to Monday. With a total of 50,921 deaths, India has the fourth-most in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico. It has now counted more than 2.6 million cases of infection with 57,982 new cases reported by the Health Ministry on Monday. August has brought a major spike in fatalities, with more than a quarter of the country’s total deaths coming in the past 17 days.
— Japan’s top car maker Toyota is seeing more cases among employees as coronavirus infections climb in Japan, partly because of a gradual increase in testing. Toyota Motor Corporation said on Monday 20 employees were confirmed with Covid-19 so far, seven of them this month.
— Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state on Monday recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic, with 25 coronavirus fatalities. The death toll surpasses the previous 24-hour record of 21 set last week. Victoria’s Health Department recorded 282 new cases, slightly more than 279 new infections on Sunday, but maintaining a downward trend.
— Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delayed New Zealand’s elections by four weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak in Auckland. They will now be held on October 17.