Health

South Korea raises social distancing alert to 2nd highest level amid 3rd wave

Seoul, Dec 6 (efe-epa).- The South Korean government on Sunday announced new social distancing restrictions to prevent the spread of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, amid the highest daily infection rates since March.

According to the latest official data, South Korean authorities registered 631 cases of coronavirus on Sunday, for a cumulative total of 37,546 infected, with five new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities with or from Covid-19 to 545.

“Under the Level 2.5 social distancing scheme, all daily routines other than vital social and economic activities will be restricted,” Health Minister Park Neunghoo said during a daily press conference.

The number of new infections in the past 24 hours is the highest recorded by South Korea since the country entered the third wave of the pandemic, and the highest level since the first wave, in February and early March.

In order to try to control the latest outbreak, the South Korean government announced that as of Tuesday, Seoul and the area surrounding the capital will have a social distancing alert of 2.5, the second highest on the official South Korean scale.

This prescribes the prohibition of meetings of more than 50 people, the closure of karaoke bars and gyms, and opening hour limits for restaurants so that they cannot receive customers beyond 9 pm.

“We’ve come upon a critical period in the fight against Covid-19,” said South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kuyn, who said that the daily number of infections had risen to more than 500 from 400, despite the efforts taken.

“I’m deeply worried that a hike in the distancing level will restrict the daily lives of our people and weigh heavily on small businesses,” he said. “But we can go back to our everyday life only after overcoming this crisis.”

The new restrictions will be in place for at least three weeks. EFE-EPA

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