Review of toughest distancing ‘inevitable’ if virus surge in capital not curbed: health minister
SEOUL, The government would have no choice but to consider the toughest social distancing requirement if the rapid spread of the new coronavirus in the capital area is not contained within this week, the health minister said Monday.
“(The ministry) is inevitably planning to review raising (the social distancing) to Level Three if the proliferation of infections taking place in the capital area is not blocked within this week,” Health Minister Park Neunghoo said during the National Assembly’s budget committee session.
His comment came as South Korea reported 266 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the 11th day the daily number has increased by a triple-digit number.
A total of 2,893 new cases were identified from across the nation over the past 11 days with many of them traceable to Protestant churches in Seoul and an anti-government rally held in mid-August in the city center.
The health minister said the quarantine efforts during the recent virus surge have been particularly focused on Seoul and its surrounding cities, an area densely populated and highly vulnerable to infections like COVID-19.
Currently, Level Two social distancing is in place across the country, banning indoor gatherings of 50 or more people and outdoor events of 100 or more people.
The Level Three calls for restrictions on all outdoor activities except for essential social and economic purposes. Gatherings of 10 or more people are not permitted, and all sports events are suspended.
The city of Seoul has already banned rallies of 10 or more people in the capital on the back of the recent viral surge.
In Seoul, as well as the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and the western port city of Incheon, all church activities, including worship services, are currently prohibited.
Source: Yonhap News Agency