S. Korea to maintain toughened virus curbs this week
SEOUL, South Korea plans to keep its toughened social distancing scheme in greater Seoul this week amid rising concerns that the country may experience yet another rebound in the number of virus cases after the Chuseok holiday, health authorities said Sunday.
Sunday marked the end of the extended Chuseok autumn harvest holiday that began Wednesday. Millions of people traveled across the country to meet their family members and relatives over the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving.
The country, however, also has a three-day break from Oct. 9 to 11, when Hangeul Day, which celebrates the Korean alphabet, is combined with the weekend.
To prevent the spread of the virus over the holidays, South Korea adopted the so-called special antivirus regime starting Sept. 28 and running through Oct. 11.
Under the measures, South Korea will continue to ban indoor gatherings of 50 or more people nationwide, along with operations of door-to-door sales businesses.
All sports games, including baseball and soccer, cannot have spectators.
High-risk facilities, such as karaoke rooms, bars and clubs, will remain shut in greater Seoul until this week. Those in other areas, however, will be allowed to open their doors starting Monday.
Local health authorities plan to keep tabs on new coronavirus cases this week before deciding whether to lift more regulations starting Oct. 12.
South Korea has not yet adopted a full lockdown, but it has been implementing different scales of social distancing policies in sync with the number of new COVID-19 cases.
South Korea temporarily adopted the so-called Level 2.5 social distancing scheme for greater Seoul in late August, which ran through Sept. 13.
The updated measures had banned restaurants from having dine-in customers after 9 p.m.
The country added 64 more COVID-19 cases Sunday, including 47 local infections, raising the total caseload to 24,091, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Source: Yonhap News Agency