South Korea confirms 196 new coronavirus cases, total 6,284; deaths up by 7 to 42

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant on the street at Gangnam district in Seoul on March 5, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - South Korea confirmed a total of 6,284 coronavirus cases on Friday (March 6), up by 196 cases from late on Thursday.

The Korea Centres for Disease and Control and Prevention also said seven more deaths from the virus were reported, bringing the total to 42.

Health officials expect the number of new cases to be high for the near future as they complete the testing of more than 200,000 members of a Christian sect, as well as thousands of other suspected cases from smaller clusters.

"We need special measures in times of emergency," South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said during a special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

"In order to overcome Covid-19 as quickly as possible and minimise the impact on the economy, it is necessary to proactively inject all available resources."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has cancelled his planned trip to the UAE, Egypt and Turkey in mid-March, due to the alarming spread of the disease at home, according to the presidential Blue House.

Hospitals in South Korea's hardest hit areas were scrambling to accommodate the surge in new patients.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.