Seoul Announces Plan To Tighten Rules

The municipal government of Seoul on Friday announced a plan to further tighten quarantine rules amid a spike the number of new coronavirus cases in the South Korean capital.

The so-called general facilities in Seoul will have to stop operation after 9 p.m. local time for two weeks beginning Saturday, Xinhua news agency quoted the government as saying.

The facilities include department stores, discount outlets, movie theatres, internet cafes, study rooms, private cram schools, amusement parks and hair salons.

Convenient stores under 300 square metres will be allowed to operate around the clock, while delivery and takeout will be permitted for restaurants.

The operation of public transport will be reduced by 30 per cent after 9 p.m., an hour earlier than before.

On November 24, the Seoul government issued an order to prevent entertainment facilities from functioning, while the operation of restaurants, cafes, indoor sports facilities and gyms was banned after 9 p.m.

The city-run public facilities, including museum and library, will stop operation around the clock, while half of public servants and employees in public institutions will be allowed to work from home.

The tightened rules came amid the surging number of Covid-19 cases in Seoul.

In the latest tally, capital city recorded a new high of 295 cases in the past 24 hours as of Friday, keeping a record-breaking trend for two straight days.

The daily number of confirmed cases in Seoul stayed between 30 and 50 in early November before starting to rise in triple digits from November 18.

South Korea reported 629 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total tally to 36,332.

It marked the highest daily reading in over nine months since March 2.

The South Korean government already raised its social-distancing guidelines to the third-highest level for the two weeks from November 24 to December 7 in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province.

Under the Level 2 distancing, restaurants are allowed to serve food until 9 p.m., with only delivery and takeaway being available afterward.

Indoor dining is not allowed in coffee shops and cafes, with only delivery and takeout being permitted.

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