After four largely uneventful weeks in which South Korea had confirmed just 30 cases, the number of cases has soared five fold in just three days, rising from 31 cases on Tuesday to 156 on Friday (local time), in what appears to be a very aggressive exponential increase.
Notably, thirty-nine of the cases are related to a cluster at a church in Daegu, the city that "looks like a zombie apocalypse", according to a statement from Korea Centers for Disease Control.
Earlier in the day, officials said the city of Daegu was facing an "unprecedented crisis" after coronavirus infections that centred on a controversial "cult" church, linked to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, surged over the past two days. The city of 2.5 million people, which is two hours south of the capital Seoul, was turned into a ghost town after health officials said the bulk of country's 31 new cases announced on Thursday were linked to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus (and now another 39).
Mayor Kwon Young-jin made a televised address, urging citizens to wear masks and remain indoors while revealing his concerns that the contagion could rapidly overwhelm the city's health infrastructure. "We are in an unprecedented crisis," the mayor told reporters, unaware that the last thing he can afford to do in times like these is tell the truth.