Quarantine Tightened as Coronavirus Infections Soar

  • By Roh Suk-jo

    August 19, 2020 11:45

    The government toughened quarantine measures again on Tuesday amid the resurgence of coronavirus infections to nearly 1,000 new cases over the last five days. All churches in Seoul, surrounding Gyeonggi Province and the western port city of Incheon must close their doors.

    The move comes after over 400 infections were traced to a church in Seoul that is accused of reluctance to follow guidelines by health authorities and whose leader has tested positive.

    The Presbyterian pastor, who has led several anti-government rallies, incited followers to gather at Gwanghwamun, Seoul on Aug. 15, where thousands of people chanted slogans sitting close together.

    Since Aug. 13, 991 new cases have been reported, 83.4 percent of them in the Seoul metropolitan area.

    Health workers disinfect a church in Yeouido, Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap

    Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Tuesday said, "We are strengthening quarantine measures, but the rate of spread is not abating and the speed of transmission is very fast."

    Chung said gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors are banned, which also means the closure of nightclubs, karaoke parlors, large buffet restaurants, private crammers and indoor sports facilities.

    The Defense Ministry also tightened social distancing at all military bases in the country until the end of this month. Soldiers will be unable to go on leave for two weeks.

    Korea reported another 297 new cases as of Wednesday morning, 252 in the Seoul metropolitan area and 140 linked to the church in Seoul. Now the cumulative number of coronavirus patients in Korea has reached 16,058.  

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