South Korea reported 1- thousand -46 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday surpassing the one-thousand mark for the first time in three days.
There were 40 new deaths the highest number in a single day since the outbreak began. raising the death toll to 859.
The country's previous record was 24 reported a week ago.
The government said the surge in deaths is mainly due to an increase in cluster infections at nursing homes and facilities for the elderly.
"There have been a lot of new deaths, especially in December. As the virus spreads nationwide, it has been spreading to nursing homes and long-term care centers and this has led to deaths among the elderly."
Of Tuesday's new cases, more than 75-percent came from the greater Seoul area.
This is, in part, due to a mass outbreak at the Dongbu Detention Center in Seoul, where a total of 757 people have been infected so far with one death.
"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."
The Prime Minister also added that the temporary testing centers, which were originally planned to run until January 3rd, will be available for two more weeks, as they were highly effective in preventing the so-called "silent spread" of the virus.
Bae Eun-ji, Arirang News.