South Korea reported 166 new coronavirus cases on Friday -- 155 of which were as a result of community transmission, according to a press release from the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Churches in Seoul and neighboring Gyeonggi province, as well as fast-food restaurants and a market in Seoul, have been identified as clusters in the fresh outbreak.
In an emergency briefing on Saturday, Park Yoo-mi, Seoul City’s top health official, said so far 12 infections in the region are linked to a fast-food burger chain Lotteria, 12 to a church in Gyeonggi province and Seoul’s Namdaemun market, and 44 cases to Sarang-jeil Church in Seoul.
Seoul issued an executive order Friday for all 7,560 religious facilities in the city, ordering them to restrict group events except the main service.
The 4,000-strong congregation of Seoul’s Sarang-jeil Church are subject to self-quarantine and must be tested, Park said.
Religious gatherings are also being restricted in Gyeonggi, according to an order issued by Gov. Lee Jae-myung on Friday.
Park, the Seoul health official, warned that attendees at an anti-government rally scheduled for Saturday could face prosecution under a protest ban. She said those who flout the ban could be subject to legal action -- and if a confirmed virus case is reported from a protest, organizers could face a fine.
South Korea's total number of confirmed cases stands at 15,039, of which 833 are active. The country's death toll remains at 305.