(A woman reads a coronavirus warning at regional health care office in Sangju, South Korea)[Nurphoto/Getty/Kyodo]

SEOUL - South Korea's government on Monday reported 231 more confirmed coronavirus cases, most of which are linked to a religious group, and two more deaths.

The new cases bring the country's total to 833, with the death toll now at eight.

Of the new cases, at least 129 are members of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a small Christian sect identified as a hotbed for the coronavirus, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry.

The death toll has risen to eight, with six of the deaths occurring in Daenam Hospital in the southeastern county of Cheongdo. The eighth person to die became infected at the hospital but succumbed at another one in the neighboring city of Daegu.

The hospital has been linked to more than 100 cases of the deadly pneumonia-causing virus.

The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea has surged nearly 27-fold over the past six days.

The government raised the country's virus alert status to the highest level on Sunday, advising the people to stay inside and avoid crowds.

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