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Coronavirus' rapid spread in South Korea linked to secretive church

Closed nature of Shincheonji Church of Jesus blamed for rise in infections

The South Korean government has designated the southeastern city of Daegu as a "special management zone" subject to extra infection-prevention measures.   © Yonhap/ Kyodo

TOKYO -- The number of South Koreans infected by the novel coronavirus was announced to have hit 1,595 by Thursday morning, marking a rapid increase after passing the 1,000 mark on Wednesday, and with hundreds of the cases linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus religious group.

Infections in the country have multiplied more than 40 times in the past 10 days, despite the government's heightened alert status. The death toll is 12.

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