South Korea said on Friday that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections rose to 156, a near tripling over three days.

Among the 52 new cases reported on Friday, 41 are in Daegu, a city of about two and a half million people in the southeastern part of the country, and the surrounding region, South Korean disease control officials said in a statement. Among those, 39 were connected to a church called Shincheonji.

Officials said a 61-year-old woman who had attended services at the church over the past two Sundays had been identified as a potential source of the spread of the virus.

The new figures give South Korea the world’s second-largest number of confirmed cases if those from the Diamond Princess cruise ship are not included in Japan’s total. The vast majority of cases are in mainland China, which has reported more than 75,000 cases. Japan has 94 cases, which does not include the more than 600 people who had been onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

South Korea reported on Thursday what officials said could be its first death from the coronavirus. A 63-year-old patient with symptoms of pneumonia died on Wednesday at the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo.

-Source: The New York Times-

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