September 07, 2020 13:15
Health authorities fear the worst during the great Chuseok migration to people's ancestral hometowns and have pleaded with the public to stay put.
But it will be almost impossible to resist making use of the Chuseok holiday from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.
"If the current trend continues, it'll be impossible to bring asymptomatic and latent infections under complete control in three weeks' time," Son Young-rae, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said Sunday. "We advise you to refrain from visiting your ancestral homes or tombs as much as possible to prevent the nationwide spread of coronavirus."
Son urged people to use the ministry's virtual tours of ancestral tombs, available from Sept. 21, and employ a mowing service instead of ritually mowing the grass at the tombs themselves.
If people's ancestors are entombed in charnel houses, they should book a visit to ensure maximum social distancing from the third week of September to the third week of October. People can also visit relatives in nursing homes by appointment if they talk from behind a plastic shield.
KORAIL is only selling window seats on the KTX bullet train and other services, limiting capacity to 50 percent. Express bus companies have been told to follow suit.
The government is also considering banning gatherings of 50 people or more over the holiday. For now it has extended the current lockdown for another week until next Monday.
"It's terrible to have to ask people to refrain from traveling for Chuseok, the country's biggest holiday," Son said. "But please consider the safety of your own family and relatives and stay home as much as possible."
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