S. Korea urges citizens to limit contacts to halt 3rd COVID-19 wave

Seoul Nov 24 (efe-epa).- South Korean authorities on Tuesday urged citizens to minimize their social interactions to stop the third wave of COVID-19 infections in the country, the same day that new restrictions came into force in Seoul to contain the spread of the virus.

“To break the chain infections and prevent a nationwide pandemic, people should minimize contact with others in their daily lives,” Second Vice Health Minister Kang Do-tae said at a press conference.

Authorities said that 60 percent of the new cases have originated from gatherings of family and friends, which is complicating efforts to check the spread of the virus.

“Infections among people younger than 40 years old have been on the rise, as many of them do not show special symptoms and carry out lots of activities, adding woes to antivirus efforts already hamstrung by the cold weather,” Kang added, local news agency Yonhap reported.

Cases in the Asian country have increased in the last month as citizens spend more time indoors due to falling temperatures.

On Tuesday, South Korea reported 349 new COVID-19 infections, 320 of them local, out of which 217 were detected in the capital region.

The capital region, the most populated area of ??the country, has been registering the majority of the infections in South Korea prompting authorities to raise social distancing restrictions to level 2 from Tuesday.

Level 2 – the third highest in a five-tier system – prohibits meetings of more than 100 people and forces the closure of nightclubs.

Restaurants are also banned from serving customers on the premises after 9 pm and only offer takeout or home delivery.

In turn, cafes can only offer takeout orders and sports stadiums are limited to 10 percent of capacity.

The imposition of the restrictions comes ahead of the nationwide college exam on Dec. 3.

Almost half a million students will take the high-stakes exam this year.

South Korea, which since the start of the pandemic has avoided imposing a nationwide lockdown or closing its borders, is one of the countries that has best managed the pandemic so far.

To date, there have been 31,353 infections (14.2 percent of them imported) and 510 deaths, with a mortality rate of 1.62 percent. EFE-EPA


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