South Korea extends Covid restrictions amid cases spike

Seoul, Jul 7 (EFE).- South Korea on Wednesday decided to extend Covid-19 restrictions another week as authorities reported 1,212 new infections, its highest jump in daily cases so far this year.

It is also the second highest number of daily cases ever recorded by the Asian country, which saw its record on Dec. 25 with 1,240 infections.

Of the total reported, 1,168 were community cases, of which almost 85 percent were located in the capital region, where more than half of the country lives, according to data published Wednesday by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

As a result of these figures, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum at an inter-ministerial meeting said that the restrictions currently in force in the Seoul metropolitan area, such as a ban on gatherings of more than four people and 10 pm restaurant curfews, will continue for at least one more week.

He also said the government will study the possibility of hardening measures if the level of infections persists or worsens during the next two or three days.

The country, one of those that has best managed the pandemic and which has recorded about 150,000 cases and 2,000 deaths, planned to relax the current restrictions for the capital region on July 1, but backed down due to the worsening of the situation.

In addition to being concentrated in Seoul and its surrounding areas, the increase in infections seems to be linked to the increased circulation of the more contagious Delta variant, and is affecting mainly those between 20 and 39 years old, a group that still does not have access to the vaccine.

Like many other territories, South Korea faces problems in the global supply of vaccines, which means that at the moment only 15.4 million people (30.1 percent of the population) have received at least one dose and 5.46 million (10.6 percent) are fully vaccinated.

On Wednesday, some 700,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived thanks to an exchange program signed with Israel, with which the South Korean authorities hope to continue advancing their immunization program. EFE


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