South Korea reported 583 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest since March, as the country grapples with a third wave of infections that has forced it to reimpose tough social distancing measures.
The daily tally exceeded 500 for the first time since March 6, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), when South Korea battled the first major COVID-19 epidemic outside China.
The first wave emerged from meetings of a religious sect but most of the latest cases are occurring in offices, schools, gyms and small gatherings in the wider community around Seoul, making them harder to trace and contain.
"COVID-19 has arrived right beside you and your family," Health Minister Park Neung-hoo told a televized meeting of health officials.
The government reimposed strict social distancing rules on the capital Seoul and surrounding regions this week.