SOUTH KOREA RAISES ALARM LEVEL AS COVID-19 CASES HIT 9-MONTH HIGH


07/12/2020




İrem UZUN -TDO- South Korea imposed stricter social-distancing measures, including a ban on gatherings at high-risk venues such as karaoke bars, as the nation that was lauded for its initial coronavirus containment strategy faces one of its worst resurgences. 

The decision comes after the government implemented unprecedented measures on Saturday in a country that had seen initial success through aggressive contact tracing and other steps.  “We are in a very dangerous situation,” health ministry official Park Neung-hoo told a briefing, saying localized clusters have the potential to become a national outbreak.  The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 631 new cases as of midnight Saturday - the largest daily tally since a peak in February and early March - bringing the country’s total to 37,546, with 545 deaths.

The social-distancing alert for the greater Seoul area was raised to 2.5 from 2, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Sunday. All gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned, and restaurants will continue to be prohibited from serving customers after 9 p.m. and can do only takeouts and deliveries. In addition, no spectators will be allowed into sporting events. "The 2.5 level will be maintained for the next three weeks until the end of the year,” Chung said at a Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures meeting in Seoul City Hall.


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