SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday that 46 additional coronavirus cases have been confirmed, bringing the country’s total to 602.

Five people in the country who had coronavirus have died, with the most recent death being confirmed Sunday afternoon. South Korea raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest "red" level on Sunday amid the soaring COVID-19 cases in recent days.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency government meeting to tackle the virus spread, saying the infectious disease alert would be lifted to the highest level in order to strengthen the overall response system.

It marked the first time since the outbreak of the Influenza A (H1N1) in 2009 that the government issued the highest alert level.