Covid restrictions extended outside of Seoul as new case high recorded

Seoul, Jul 14 (EFE).- South Korea registered a new daily record of Covid-19 cases on Wednesday with 1,615, prompting authorities to extend restrictions outside the capital region due to the increase in infections in less populated areas.

Of the 1,615 new infections, 1,568 occurred domestically and 47 were found in people coming from abroad, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

Greater Seoul, where more than half of the country lives and around 80 percent of new cases have been recorded, has been under the highest restriction level since Monday, closing nightclubs, holding classes online and prohibiting meetings of more than two people between 6 pm and 5 am.

As of Thursday most of the regions outside the capital, which have been at the lowest level of restrictions, will enter level 2, which prohibits gatherings of more than four people and imposes the closure of bars and restaurants at midnight (instead of at 10pm as in Seoul).

Behind the recent increase in cases is the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which accounts for 25 percent of all new cases, as well as delays in the vaccination campaign.

South Korea is one of the countries that has best managed the pandemic (it has recorded only about 171,000 cases and 2,000 deaths) and has never imposed lockdowns nor border closures, but its immunization campaign started more than two months late with respect to Europe and the United States, which critics claim came from overconfidence.

Added to this is the global supply shortage of vaccines. So far only 15.6 million people (30.6 percent of the population) have received a dose and 6 million (11.8 percent) are fully vaccinated.

The country just received 799,000 Pfizer doses and expects new shipments in the coming weeks with which it hopes to advance its vaccination campaign. EFE


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