Seoul/Xinhua/UNI: South Korea on Tuesday confirmed 131 more cases of the COVID-19, raising the total number of infections in the country to 7,513.
As of midnight local time, the number of infected patients totaled 7,513, up 131 from 24 hours ago. Three more deaths were also reported, lifting the death toll to 54.
The total fatality rate stood at 0.7 percent, but the figure among those in their 80s or higher rose to 6.8 percent.
Eighty-one more patients were discharged from quarantine after making a full recovery, raising the combined number to 247.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) decided to update the data once a day at 10:00 a.m. local time beginning Tuesday, after having announced it twice a day.
The virus infection has been soaring for the past 20 days, with 7,482 new cases reported from February 19 to March 9. The country has raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest "red" level.
The total number of infections in Daegu, about 300 km southeast of Seoul, and its surrounding North Gyeongsang province increased to 5,663 and 1,117 respectively. It accounts for about 90 percent of the total number of infections.
The numbers in Seoul and its adjacent Gyeonggi province came in at 141 and 163 each.
Daegu became the epicenter of the viral spread as the biggest cluster of infections was found in the metropolis with a population of 2.5 million. Daegu has been designated by the government as a "special care zone."
The Daegu cluster was closely linked to the church services of a homegrown minor religious sect, called Sincheonji, in Daegu. Members of the sect are known to sit on the floor close to one another side by side during church services.
Since January 3, the country has tested more than 210,000 people, among whom 184,179 have tested negative for the virus and 18,452 were being checked.