Taiwan raises travel alert for S. Korea as infections increase

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Workers wearing protective gears spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus at Agricultural and Wholesale Products Center in Daegu, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. The mayor of the South Korean city of Daegu urged its 2.5 million people on Thursday to refrain from going outside as cases of a new virus, linked to a church congregation, spiked and he pleaded for help from the central government. (Kim Hyun-tae/Yonhap via AP)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Sunday issued a yellow travel alert for South Korea, warning travelers to exercise extra caution and advising potential visitors to reconsider their plans, as the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the neighboring country continued to surge.

The yellow alert is the third-highest level in MOFA’s four-tier warning system, which consists of gray, yellow, orange and red, in order of severity.

According to MOFA, South Korea has reported 556 cases of COVID-19 to date, 70 percent of which are confirmed or suspected indigenous cases.

Cluster infections linked to a large church and a hospital near the city of Daegu have contributed to the spike in cases in South Korea, and there have been numerous cases in which the source of infection could not be determined, according to MOFA.

The ministry issued the warning after Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday raised its travel alert for South Korea to Level 2, the second-highest in its three-level system.

Travelers are advised to remain vigilant and to take safety precautions while in South Korea, the CECC said.