S. Korea reports 169 new virus cases, total tops 1,100

A medical worker puts on protective gear at a hospital in Ulsan. (AP pic)

SEOUL: South Korea’s coronavirus case total jumped well into four figures Wednesday as authorities reported 169 new infections, taking the overall tally to 1,146, by far the largest outside China.

An 11th person had died of the disease, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) added in a statement on its website – a Mongolian man in his 30s who became the first foreign national to fall victim to the outbreak.

Yonhap news agency reported that he had been in hospital in the South awaiting a liver transplant.

The vast majority – 90% – of the new infections were in Daegu, the country’s fourth-largest city and the epicentre of the outbreak, and the neighbouring province of North Gyeongsang.

Between them they account for more than 80% of the national total.

The streets of Daegu – which has a population of 2.5 million – have been largely deserted for days, apart from long queues at the few shops with masks for sale.

Authorities urged the public to exercise extra caution, advising citizens to stay home if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

“The government will mobilise all resources and means” to try to control the outbreak, Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun told a meeting in Daegu, where he is leading the government response, Yonhap news agency reported.