The government is also expanding the ban on gatherings of five or more people across the country in an attempt to eradicate the third wave.
South Korea on Tuesday extended the nationwide ban on gatherings of five or more people and ordered all ski resorts and tourist attractions to close during the year-end holidays in a bid to contain a third stubborn wave of coronavirus.
Skiing facilities and tourist attractions, which are popular destinations during the holiday season, will be closed from December 24 to January 3, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a televised briefing. Gatherings will also be limited to four people across the country – expanding a ban that was imposed yesterday in Seoul and surrounding areas – and restaurants will be subject to more stringent regulations.
“We intend to break the strength of the third wave with measures stronger than the level 3 social distancing,” Yonhap news agency said.
The capital area is currently below level 2.5, the second highest level of South Korea’s social distancing rules, while the rest of the country is below level 2. The government is reluctant to move to the restriction level highest because of the potential effect on the economy.
“The government will block transmissions in daily life in a practical way rather than through the formality of adjusting levels,” he said.
South Korea reported 869 new cases of the coronavirus as of midnight (3:00 p.m. GMT) on Monday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday, down from the daily record of 1,097 reported this weekend. end.
The surge in new cases has rocked a country that has for months been considered a mitigation success story. The total number of confirmed cases in South Korea since the outbreak began in January now stands at 51,460, with 722 deaths. On Monday, the number of daily deaths hit an all-time high.
About 70% of the nation’s daily new cases have been diagnosed in Seoul, with clusters emerging in nursing homes and mental hospitals.
Authorities have stepped up testing to fight the surge in cases with a record 110,000 tests carried out on Monday.
“The Christmas and New Years holiday season must not become a trigger for the coronavirus,” Chung said.
“The government’s message to the people is clear. We sincerely ask that you cancel all your trips and gatherings and stay home during the Christmas and New Year holidays. ”