South Korea on Tuesday confirmed 1,46 new cases of COVID-19.
The daily tally climbed back to the thousand-plus range after staying in the triple digits for a couple of days.
Of the new cases, 802 were locally transmitted in the greater Seoul area.
The surge in the capital is in part due to a mass outbreak at the Dongbu Detention Center in Seoul, which reported 233 more patients on Monday.
The facility's total tally is now 757 cases.
The Prime Minister on Tuesday directly addressed the mass infection at the center.
He said the outbreak had little possibility of spreading to the local community, but apologized to the public.
"As head of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure headquarters, I'm deeply sorry for the mass outbreak at a correctional facility managed by the government."
Making matters worse, the daily death toll marked an all-time high for South Korea, with 40 deaths on Monday alone.
Due to the worsening situation, temporary COVID-19 testing centers installed in the capital will be open two weeks longer than previously planned.
"The testing centers were able to hold off mass outbreaks by identifying silent spreaders early on. In response, we will extend the temporary testing centers, which were planned to close on January 3rd, for another fortnight."
The testing centers administered over 500-thousand tests over the past two weeks, and found 14-hundred virus carriers.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News