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South Korea Sees Biggest Daily Jump in COVID-19 Cases in 70 Days

By VOA News November 13, 2020

South Korea has reported its biggest daily jump in COVID-19 cases in 70 days as the government says it will fine people who fail to wear masks in public.

Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 191 cases added to the country's caseload Friday, the highest daily increase since September 4. It represented the sixth consecutive day that the number of new cases reached triple figures.

The government announced it will begin imposing fines of up to $90 if people do not wear masks on public transportation, at demonstrations and in medical, religious and care facilities. Operators of facilities and businesses who do not enforce wearing masks will be fined up to $2,700.

The KDCA attributed the spike to sporadic cluster infections from informal gatherings across the nation. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a meeting of senior health officials that if the trend continues, the government will consider raising COVID-19 restrictions.

South Korea reopened many entertainment venues, bars and restaurants, last month, and allowed sporting events to resume at 30 percent capacity.

More than 120 of the cases reported Friday were from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have struggled to stem transmissions tied to various places, including hospitals, nursing homes, churches, schools, restaurants and offices.

Other cases were spread across cities and towns throughout the country, including Gwangju, Busan, Daegu and Wonju.

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