South Korea to ease school attendance limits amid falling infection rates

Seoul, Oct 11 (efe-epa).- South Korea will raise the minimum number of pupils allowed to be present in classrooms at schools, the ministry of education said on Sunday, as the country starts to ease measures put in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

The decision will allow up to two thirds of primary and secondary school students to attend classes in person from 19 October, although it will be applied according to the number of coronavirus infections in each school’s local district.

Each school will be able to adjust its timetables according to the local epidemiological situation, meaning there will be some schools where students will be able to attend every day, the ministry said.

Private schools will also be allowed to welcome students back.

Education centers have been rotating between remote and in-person learning for their students; up to a third of pupils have been allowed in the classroom at a time for primary and secondary levels, with up to two thirds allowed at undergraduate university level.

The easing of limits on attendance for schools comes as health authorities relax restrictions on social distancing amid falling infection rates in recent weeks.

From Monday, up to 50 people will be allowed into indoor public spaces such as gyms, fitness centers and karaoke bars, but authorities will continue to enforce social distancing at cafes and restaurants.

South Korea reported 58 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday. The rate of daily infections has remained below 100 since early September after social distancing measures were toughened in August.

The country is widely considered to have been one of the most successful in responding to the pandemic, having registered just 24,606 cases and only 432 deaths.

Seoul has been praised for its aggressive contact tracing and localized lockdown measures that have meant outbreaks have quickly been controlled.

By contrast, Spain -whose population of 46.9 million is comparable to South Korea’s 51.6 million – has reported more than 861,000 cases and almost 33,000 deaths. EFE-EPA


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