South Korea added 700 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday the highest daily tally since early
January prompting health authorities to renew their warnings that new social distancing rules would likely be needed to curb the spread.
Officials fear the country may be facing a fourth wave of infections and will announce the new distancing guidelines on Friday.
"We have an urgent crisis where a fourth wave might become a reality if we fail to curb the spread. If you look at the route of infections, the situation has become much more serious."
With 674 of Thursday's 700 cases being local transmissions, 72-percent of them came from the greater Seoul area.
But, cluster infections outside of the capital area also remain a concern: 318 cases are now traced back to an entertainment facility in Busan with 16 more positives from that chain confirmed on Thursday.
A traveling church group has also become the source of 208 cases in at least 13 different cities and provinces.
The latest infections have also been spreading among students.
335 school students were infected with the virus in the first week of April, bringing the daily average to 47.9 the highest since the start of the new school year.
Nine students from Seoul National University have been identified as virus carriers.
Meanwhile, health authorities found only 26 of 5,and two people in the greater metro area have antibodies against the coronavirus.
The antibody rate of a little over half a percent in the wider Seoul area is higher than the point-one-five percent from the serology test last year, but still extremely low compared with other countries.
Serology tests are used to figure out how many people have been infected with COVID-19 since antibodies are usually developed after people contract the virus.
Health authorities plan to conduct these tests on at least 32-thousand people this year to better check the antibody rate in the country.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News