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Outbreak of coronavirus cases reported at South Korean factory 

South Korea has reported 79 new coronavirus cases today, the most in nearly eight weeks, triggering the return of tougher social distancing rules.

At least 82 cases this week have been linked to a cluster of infections at a logistics facility run by Coupang Corp, one of the country’s largest online shopping firms, in Bucheon, west of Seoul, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

About 4,100 workers, including 603 delivery people, at the warehouse were believed to have not properly followed social distancing and protective measures, such as mask wearing, KCDC deputy director Kwon Jun-wook told a briefing.

Coupang, one of a group of e-commerce firms whose plants have scrambled to fill a surge in demand, has said the Bucheon centre was disinfected every day, with all employees wearing masks and gloves and their temperatures checked.

The new cases on a third straight day of rising infections took South Korea’s tally to 11,344 with 269 deaths by midnight on Wednesday. A robust testing programme this year was credited with keeping deaths comparatively low in a global pandemic that has now killed more than 350,000.

The warehouse cluster appears linked to an outbreak that emerged in several Seoul nightclubs and bars in early May, the KCDC said, and comes amid efforts to ease social distancing rules.