South Korea to impose strictest COVID-19 restrictions in Seoul
Updated 14:22, 09-Jul-2021
People wait to be tested for the novel coronavirus infection in Seoul, South Korea, July 9, 2021. /CFP

People wait to be tested for the novel coronavirus infection in Seoul, South Korea, July 9, 2021. /CFP

South Korea will impose the strictest Level 4 restrictions in greater Seoul for two weeks to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections starting Monday, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Friday, after new COVID-19 cases climbed to a daily record for the second day running.

The country reported 1,316 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Thursday, up from Wednesday's previous record of 1,275 a day. On Thursday a top health official warned the numbers may nearly double by the end of July.

Under the new curbs, people are advised to stay home as much as possible, schools are closed, public meetings are restricted to two people after 6 p.m. and rallies or other events are banned.

Nightclubs and bars would be shut, while restaurants and cafes would be allowed limited seating and only take-out services after 10 p.m.

"Seoul alone saw 500 confirmed cases for the third day," Kim told a televised government meeting, adding that "four out of five infections are from the metropolitan Seoul area."

While the new Level 4 restrictions - the toughest of all distancing measures - will be imposed on July 12, Kim also advised the public to refrain from any private gatherings starting Friday.

He also said that during the two-week semi-lockdown the government will suspend a program introduced earlier this year that allowed mask-free outdoor gatherings for citizens vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot.

South Korea has only given both shots in the dual vaccination process to just over 10 percent of its 52 million population, while 30 percent have received at least one dose, the majority of whom are aged over 60.

The country aims to reach herd immunity before November by inoculating 70 percent of the public with at least one shot by September.

Source(s): Reuters

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