The first confirmed case of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Korea was announced on 20 January 2020. On 19 February, the number of confirmed cases increased by 20 and on 20 February by 58 or 70, giving a total of 346 confirmed cases on 21 February 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Korea (KCDC), with the sudden jump mostly attributed to "Patient 31" who participated in a gathering at a Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony church in Daegu.
Amidst the fears of further contamination, mass gatherings in the affected cities were cancelled and a few hundred soldiers in Daegu are in isolation. As of 4 February 2020, in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, South Korea is denying entry to foreigners traveling from Hubei Province.
As of 24 March 2020, South Korea has about 9,037 cases and 120 deaths, with over 348,582 people having been tested, a case fatality rate of 1.33%, which is lower than the WHO's global case fatality rate of 4.34%.
South Korea introduced what was considered one of the largest and best-organised epidemic control programs in the world, along with Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore. Different measures have been taken to screen the mass population for the virus, and isolate any infected people as well as trace and quarantine those who contacted them, without further lockdown. The rapid and extensive tests taken by South Korea has been judged successful in limiting the spread of the outbreak despite not using the drastic measure of quarantining entire cities.