August 28, 2020 13:03
Calls are growing for a second nationwide lockdown amid a recent surge of coronavirus infections.
Apocalyptic visions abound. Lee Jae-gap at Hallym University Medical Center said, "There could be 600-800 coronavirus cases daily in early September unless social distancing is strengthened pre-emptively."
But the government fears that another nationwide lockdown could fatally cripple the economy.
Yoon Tae-ho, who heads a government taskforce tackling the epidemic, on Thursday warned of the negative economic impact of "a shutdown of multiple-use facilities which directly affects daily lives of people."
While shying away from a full lockdown, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun in a meeting on Friday extended the current level of social distancing for one more week, and banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the Seoul metropolitan area until Sept. 13.
Some companies that can afford it have already taken matters into their own hands. Samsung on Thursday asked staff to work from home. Office workers in consumer electronics and mobile divisions can work from home for the whole month of September if they want.
LG also allowed 30 percent of its staff in more than 7,500 office jobs to telecommute.
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