South Korea has called off international festivals and told hundreds of schoolchildren to stay home as the number of swine flu infections rises, officials said Wednesday.
The south coast city of Yeosu, which will hold a global Expo in 2012, scrapped an international youth festival it planned to host next week.
Thousands of people, including 370 foreigners from 50 countries, had planned to take part in the three-day event.
"We have to call off the festival for fear that any new case of infection would deal a blow to the image of this city, which will host the 2012 Expo," Lee Don-Ju, a city official in charge of the festival, told AFP.
A world choir contest in the southeastern province of South Gyeongsang was scrapped halfway through on Sunday when more than a dozen Indonesian participants were found to have contracted the A(H1N1) virus.
Officials in the province told 2,000 students from 192 schools who had taken part in the choir contest not to go to school for a while for fear they may spread the virus.
Also scrapped were an international festival of percussion instruments in Sacheon City and an international exhibition of tea bowls in Gimhae City, both in South Gyeongsang province, organisers said.
Since the first case was confirmed here on May 2, South Korea has reported 607 infections but no deaths. The total includes 46 cases confirmed Wednesday, including 13 elementary school students in the Seoul area.