South Korea is currently experiencing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, with daily infection numbers hitting highs that were last seen in August.
According to Reuters, a total of 330 new cases were added to the national tally at midnight on Saturday (Nov. 21), making it the fifth day in a row that the country has recorded over 300 infections.
Officials have warned that stricter rules could be introduced if this trend continues, with the highly populated capital of Seoul and its surrounding areas of particular concern.
Reuters quoted senior Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency official Lim Sook-young as saying the country was at a "critical juncture".
"If we fail to block the current spread, we could be facing a large nationwide infection that surpasses (the first two waves)", Lim added.
Tougher social distancing measures
With the daily national tally expected to reach 400 new cases next week and more than 600 in early December if the current rate of one patient infecting 1.5 people was not curbed, Lim said that the threshold for implementing tougher social distancing measures would soon be reached.
South Korea had already tightened prevention guidelines on Nov. 19 ahead of its highly competitive annual college entrance exams on Dec. 3, reported Reuters
Recent infections are believed to be spreading among college and private after-school tuition academies.
On Nov. 20, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun called for all social gatherings to be cancelled, but bars, nightclubs, religious services and sports events continue to be permitted with attendance restrictions.
Earlier in the year, South Korea had beaten back waves of infections in late February to early March and August.
Top photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images