Amid distressing increase in COVID-19 patients, South Korea is facing a herculean task of managing the critical patients whose number has increased by 11 times in less than 15 days.

According to government data, there are 104 critically ill patients going down with coronavirus, Yonhap News Agency reported. The number rose from nine, last reported on Aug. 18.

The country’s case toll has reached 20,182 Tuesday with 235 new cases. At least 15,198 patients have fully recovered and been released from health facilities.

A total of 324 patients have died due to the COVID-19 in the country which has conducted nearly two million tests since the outbreak to diagnose the illness.

Given its initial successes made against the deadly infection, South Korea avoided to impose a full lockdown. However, it closed educational institutions as one of anti-COVID-19 measures.

The government measures held the number of new cases under 100 until early August, but the country has seen a massive jump in the past fortnight.

It was in February that the daily cases climbed to peak 909 but the infection dropped massively in following weeks.

The new rise in cases has been linked to clusters and specific churches. 

277,000 jobs lost in July

Amid the pandemic which has hit the country’s exports badly, at least 277,000 people have lost their jobs in July, the government data showed. 

Also, the Bank of Korea (BOK) -- the country’s central bank -- said South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 3.2% in the April-June period.

The BOK added the pandemic-hit economy may contract by 2.2% this year “in the worst-case scenario”.

The country closed record 7,507 schools across the country Monday to stem the spread of the infection. The government asked educational institutions to shift to home-based online classes. Sports events in the country are being held without spectators.