South Korea to tighten social distancing rules as COVID cases surge

South Korea to tighten social distancing rules as COVID cases surge
Representational image

New Delhi (NVI): The South Korea government has decided to strengthen its social distancing measures following a recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The government will raise its social distancing rules one level in the greater Seoul area and surrounding areas a month after easing them, to be effective starting from Thursday, according to the reports.

Moreover, the decision was announced at a COVID-19 countermeasure meeting with health officials in response to a recent spike in cases.

As per the reports, the new restrictions will ban public gatherings at concerts and festivals with 100 or more people and limit sports events to 30 percent capacity. Also, require high-risk facilities including clubs and karaoke bars to broaden distance among guests.

The announcement of new restrictions came as the country has reported more than 200 new daily cases, mainly in the greater Seoul area, for four straight days through Monday.

Furthermore, the new rules also ban dancing and moving to others’ seats at nightclubs and other high-risk entertainment facilities, even drinking and eating at karaoke rooms and concert halls is prohibited.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun warned that action was needed to avoid a crisis with the arrival of the winter flu season. “Our anti-coronavirus efforts are facing a crisis and the situation is particularly serious in the Seoul metropolitan area,” the prime minister said in a meeting.

He added that, “Today’s decision will cause greater inconvenience in our daily lives. But we all know from experience that there will be an even bigger crisis if we don’t act now.”

The country added 230 more cases in past 24 hours raising the total to 28,999, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), while the death toll stood at 494 in South Korea, it added.

Earlier, KDCA director Jeong Eun-kyeong also warned that the daily COVID-19 tally could go as high as 400 in coming weeks, asking citizens to stick to hygiene rules and minimize year-end celebrations.