South Korea reported 113 COVID-19 cases on Saturdaybringing the total number of infections in the country to over 14-thousand.
This is the first time in 115 days the country has surpassed the one hundred mark.
Out of the total cases, 86 were imported.
That's more than triple the number of local cases that stood at 27, and the highest since the country's first COVID-19 outbreak in late January.
The sharp increase follows the return of some 240 South Korean construction workers from Iraq via a chartered flight.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 36 infected workers and reported an additional 35 belatedly confirmed cases earlier Saturday.
Another set of cases has emerged from the crew of a Russian ship docked at Busan port.
32 crew members have been newly confirmed to be infected along with 8 previously detected cases.
"We feel every day the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to come. And seeing countries that handled the outbreak well in the beginning struggle containing the virus, like Hong Kong, Australia, Israel and Japan,we pledge not to loosen social distancing."
The KCDC attributed silent transmissions that are highly infectious to the sudden surge in numbers worldwide.
It said that a long-term battle is now inevitable and will strike more countries as time goes by.
To strengthen quarantine measures for arrivals, Korean health authorities will increase COVID-19 testing.
Arrivals from countries with entry restrictions will now face stricter quarantine procedures and take an additional second test one day before the two-week mandatory quarantine is lifted.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News..