İrem UZUN -TDO- South Korea on Tuesday ordered most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and move classes back online, within the scope of measures aimed at heading off a resurgence in coronavirus cases. Remote learning will continue until 11 September, the Ministry of Education said. Schools with fewer than 60 students and special education schools are allowed to choose whether to follow the ministry's guidelines.
Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said Tuesday that at least 193 students and teachers were found infected over the past two weeks in the Seoul metropolitan region. South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 280 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the 12-day total to 3.175. The KCDC said 221 of the new cases came from the greater Seoul area, home to half of the country’s 51 million people, where churches emerged as major sources of infections before authorities shut them amid tightened social distancing restrictions. Infections have also been linked to schools, nurseries and other places. The country’s caseload is now at 17.945, including 310 deaths.
South Korea is on the brink of a new nationwide outbreak, according to officials. President Moon Jae-in said Monday that the country will impose its strictest level-three lockdown measures if the virus cannot be contained, warning that a more severe outbreak could result in a “huge economic blow” and “the medical system may collapse.” According to the BBC, authorities in Seoul have ordered masks to be worn in indoor and outdoor public places for the first time. Churches, nightclubs and karaoke bars have also closed.