The outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new strain of coronavirus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province, last December and has since claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people worldwide.

600 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) have been confirmed in South Korea, bringing the total number of cases to 4,812, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday. The total number of fatalities has reached 28.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CEO Eun-Kyung Jung) said that 600 additional [cases of coronavirus] were confirmed from 2 March to 3 March 2020, and the total number of confirmed patients was 4,812", the statement said.

4,750 people have been quarantined, it added, and 35,555 are still waiting for the test results. Out of all the people infected, 31 are in the military service, according to the information provided by the defence ministry.

Out of 600 new cases, 519 were registered in Daegu, the county's fourth-largest city and the epicentre of the outbreak in the country. 61 were confirmed in Gyeongbuk province, and other cases were registered across the country.

The coronavirus outbreak in South Korea is believed to have originated at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

A parishioner of the church in Daegu reportedly contracted the infection and spread it among other visitors.

The South Korean authorities have raised the highest level of alert over the outbreak in the country. All schools have suspended classes till 23 March.