South Korea's health authorities on Friday reported 827 more cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the nationwide tally to 6,593.

Of the total, 4,693 of the cases were in the southeastern city of Daegu, the epicenter of the nation's outbreak, while 984 were traced to surrounding North Gyeongsang Province, according to a statement by the Health and Welfare Ministry in the afternoon.

The death toll stood at 42, up five from the previous day.

(South Korean soldiers disinfect a street in Seoul on March 5, 2020.)

With hundreds of new cases being confirmed on a daily basis, the government is working to accommodate as many COVID-19 patients as possible by turning public facilities into temporary medical centers.

The government is also exploring ways to boost face mask production to cope with a severe shortage, while planning to ration masks from Monday by limiting sales to two per person, per week.

On Friday, a new measure took effect banning the exports of masks in order to ensure a sufficient supply locally.

In an apparent bid to reassure other countries of South Korea's determination to overcome the epidemic, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha on Friday held a briefing for foreign diplomats at which she stressed the "robust, transparent, and thorough" nature of the government's efforts.

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