S.Korea hardens quarantine measures

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The daily caseload stayed below 500 for two straight days, but it was mainly attributable to fewer tests on the weekend…reports Asian Lite News

South Korea on Monday announced its decision to toughen quarantine measures amid rising concerns over a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Jeong Eun-kyeong, chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), told a press briefing that the country’s Covid-19 reproduction rate reached 1.43 last week, which indicates one patient can infect 1.5 people, Xinhua news agency reported.

Jeong noted that unless the rate falls below 1, the number of confirmed cases would continue to grow faster, saying the daily caseload could soar to a range of 700-1,000 in the next one or two weeks if the current rate of 1.43 is left unchanged.

In the latest tally, South Korea reported 438 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total infection tally to 34,201.

The daily caseload stayed below 500 for two straight days, but it was mainly attributable to fewer tests on the weekend.

The number of single day cases has increased in triple digits for 23 consecutive days since November 8, hovering above 300 since November 18 except for November 23.

On Sunday, the government decided to keep the Seoul metropolitan area under the Level 2 distancing regulations, but additional restrictions were imposed on gatherings and activities.

Sauna and steam room in bathhouses will be banned from Tuesday midnight Tuesday for one week in the metropolitan area.

Hotels, party rooms and guesthouses will be banned from hosting new year parities to curb the virus spread.

Meanwhile, the social-distancing rules nationwide, except for the Seoul metropolitan area, will be elevated to Level 1.5 for two weeks from Tuesday midnight.

The local governments can decide to raise the distancing rules to Level 2 on their own depending on the cases.

Under the Level 2 distancing, five entertainment facilities, such as nightclubs, have to suspend business, and karaoke bars have to stop business after 9 p.m.

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

Restaurants are allowed to serve food until 9 p.m., with only delivery and takeout to be available afterward.

The gathering of over 100 people is banned, and the spectator capacity for sports events is restricted to 10 per cent.

Worship services are allowed to up to 20 per cent capacity.

The attendance cap in kindergartens, primary schools and middle schools is placed at one-third of the total students, while the cap in high schools is placed at two-thirds of students.

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