South Korea tightens social restrictions amid wave of Covid infections

Seoul, Dec 16 (EFE).- South Korea announced Thursday that it will again tighten social restrictions to contain the surge in Covid-19 infections, just a month and a half after relaxing the measures.

From Saturday, meetings of more than more than four people will be prohibited, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said during a government meeting.

Currently, meetings of up to six people are allowed in the capital region and up to eight in the rest of the country.

Cafes and restaurants will only accept groups of up to four people as long as they are all vaccinated. Those not vaccinated can go to these establishments on their own, or request delivery or takeaway.

The government will also reimpose 9 pm curfews on those venues as well as nightclubs, while cinemas, concert halls and internet cafes will be open until 10 pm.

The measures come during a new wave of infections just a month and a half after beginning to relax restrictions.

Since Nov. 1, the government has discarded the early closures of the hospitality industry and allowed meetings of larger groups, and the number of daily infections has gone from around 2,000 to almost 8,000.

The main problem facing South Korea, where more than 81.5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, is the record number of severe cases, mainly because the group over 60 years of age makes up 30 percent of new infections, most likely because their vaccines have lost their effectiveness over the months.

The government is now trying to speed up the administration of booster doses and accelerate the vaccination of under-20s, the group that accounts for another 20 percent of new infections.

South Korea has recorded just over 544,000 cases and 4,500 deaths since the pandemic began. EFE


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