Korea Goes Back into Lockdown

      August 31, 2020 11:08

      The government declared another nationwide lockdown on Sunday and pleaded with the public to cooperate if a second wave of coronavirus infections is to be stemmed.

      Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "Government officials and administrative orders alone cannot stop the daily activities of citizens. We urge the public to practice complete social distancing over the next week."

      The number of new infections in the Seoul metropolitan area increased even after the government gradually tightened social-distancing rules since Aug. 16, including keeping schools closed and banning gatherings of more than 50 people.

      A seating area in a coffee shop in Seoul is cordoned off on Sunday.

      New cases there surged from 66 a day from Aug. 9 to 15 to over 240 a day during Aug. 23 to 29. Across the country the number was over 300 per day last week.

      But acting Seoul Mayor Suh Jung-hyup asked the capital's 10 million residents to "freeze" their activities as much as possible until Sept. 6.

      Coffee and other franchise outlets can only offer takeaways. Restaurants and food trucks must close at 9 p.m. Jeju Island has banned gatherings of more than three people.

      Meanwhile, Daegu in the southeast, which was a hotspot of the epidemic earlier this year, reported 30 new infections on Aug. 29, the most since March. A member of a church in the city attended and anti-government rally in Seoul on Aug. 15 and appears to have spread the virus among fellow worshipers, according to health officials.

      As of Monday morning, Korea reported another 248 new cases, bringing to the cumulative total to 19,947.  

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