South Korea Thursday reported over 400 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily number since March.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, with 441 new cases, the nationwide tally rose to 18,706, while one more death brought the total number in the country to 313.

On March 7, after reporting 483 cases, South Korea’s caseload gradually declined.

However, during the last two weeks, a new virus outbreak with more than 3,800 cases forced authorities to bring back coronavirus restrictions to the capital Seoul and surrounding areas. Seoul reported 154 new infections, its largest daily virus tally so far.

The country’s health authorities warned of another nationwide wave of COVID-19 following the virus’ spread in densely populated areas of the capital. The number of cases with unknown infection routes is also rising, according to the agency.

“Following hygiene measures seems to be not enough, and at this time, we must minimize the gatherings of people,” the agency quoted Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health official, as telling reporters.

“We are open to every possibility, including the implementation of Level 3 distancing or enforcing measures that are close to Level 3,” Yoon added.

Parliamentary proceedings canceled

The country’s National Assembly temporarily closed Thursday after a journalist tested positive for coronavirus, the agency reported.

The decision was taken by parliament following an emergency COVID-19 response meeting after a photojournalist covering the ruling party’s Supreme Council meeting tested positive.

Beside parliament, several government offices, including the central government complex’s entire third floor in Seoul, have already been shut down after COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the buildings, according to the agency.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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