SEOUL, – South Korea reported its second death on Saturday (Feb 22) from the novel coronavirus as the number of new cases rose by 229, bringing the nationwide total to 433. The national toll is now the second-highest outside of China, with the jump in cases at a hospital in Cheongdo following a similar spike among members of a religious sect in the nearby city of Daegu. Among the cases reported on Saturday, 92 were connected to a hospital in Cheongdo, a southern city connected to a religious sect, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Most of the hospital’s patients who have been diagnosed are those who had been staying as inpatients for mental illnesses,” Seoul’s vice health minister Kim Gang-lip told reporters.
More than 150 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus have now been infected, starting with a 61-year-old woman who developed a fever on Feb 10 but attended at least four church services in Daegu before being diagnosed.
The mayor of Daegu – South Korea’s fourth-biggest city, with a population of over 2.5 million – has advised locals to stay indoors, while access to a major US military base in the area has been restricted.
KCDC said around 9,300 Shincheonji members in Daegu have either been quarantined at facilities or asked to stay at home. Among them, 544 said they had symptoms, health officials added.