South Korea has posted its highest-ever number of new COVID-19 cases for a third straight day, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency says.
Starting on Monday, coronavirus curbs will be tightened to the strictest level in Seoul and neighbouring regions for the first time, South Korea said on Friday, as the streak of record new cases fanned concern.
The country reported 1378 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight on Friday, up from Thursday's previous record of 1316 a day.
South Korea has so far fared better than many industrialised nations in infections and deaths, with a mortality rate of 1.22 per cent and the number of severe cases at 148 as of Friday, which is much lower than the previous peak in late December.
However, the rising trend has prompted a warning that new case numbers may nearly double by the end of July.
That has led to tougher curbs by the government including people being advised to stay home as much as possible and social gatherings restricted to two people after 6pm from four earlier in the day.
About 11 per cent of South Korea's 52 million population has completed vaccination, including receiving both shots for vaccines requiring two doses, while 30 per cent have received one dose, KDCA said in a statement.
The country aims to reach herd immunity before November by inoculating 70 per cent of the public with at least one shot by September.
South Korea's total COVID-19 infections to date stand at 166,722, with 2038 deaths.