South Korea's government will carry out across-the-board inspections of logistics centers and toughen guidelines on limiting the number of students taking in-person classes at schools in the Seoul metropolitan area, officials said Friday, amid growing alarm over the new coronavirus in the greater Seoul area.
"But basically, I don't expect huge changes made to the infection prevention policy direction", Park said.
The latest increase largely stemmed from a cluster of infections among workers at a distribution center operated by South Korea's e-commerce company Coupang in Bucheon, a satellite city to the west of Seoul.
Residents in the region are being asked to avoid outings as much as possible and work from home during the period.
However, the country faced a serious setback earlier this month after a cluster that emerged in the capital's Itaewon nightclub district triggered a new round of infections.
"We have chose to strengthen all quarantine measures in the metropolitan area for two weeks" till June 14, Mr Park said.
Coupang closed the centre on Monday.
Coupang said the Bucheon center went through daily disinfection and all employees wore masks and gloves and had temperatures checked. "We are also disinfecting goods ordered by customers before delivering them".
It remains to be seen whether the recent spike in infections force back a phased reopening of schools, which had been a major accomplishment in the nation's anti-virus campaign.
Health authorities had recorded 79 new coronavirus infections nationwide the day before, the highest increase in nearly two months, lifting the total number of infections to 11,344.
South Korea reported 40 new cases on Wednesday, its biggest daily jump in almost 50 days, as officials scrambled to trace hundreds of infections linked to nightspots, restaurants and a massive e-commerce warehouse near Seoul.
South Korea never ordered severe lockdowns but has been lauded for its aggressive testing and tracing efforts that helped drive the daily number of cases from a peak of 909 on February 29 to single digits earlier this month.
KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said the country may need to reimpose social distancing restrictions, saying it was becoming increasingly hard for health workers to track transmissions amid increasing public activity. Health authorities plan to finish testing more than 4,000 workers and visitors to the warehouse later Thursday. South Korea's robust programme of testing earlier this year was credited with helping the number of deaths comparatively low in a global pandemic that has now killed more than 350,000.
"We will do our best to trace contacts and implement preventive measures, but there's a limit to such efforts", she said.
Bucheon city announced it would return to intensive social distancing, which means religious facilities, sport fixtures, and other public facilities would be shut down.