November 16, 2020 12:06
Coronavirus infections are on the rise again after lockdown was eased earlier this month, with new cases reaching over 200 for three days running. Some 223 new cases were newly added to the daily count on Monday morning.
Six members of Korea's national football team tested positive on Saturday after traveling to Austria for friendly matches.
The latest developments prompted Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun to urge people to abide by quarantine measures and warn that the government will "seriously consider raising social distancing."
"If the level is raised, we will once again face restrictions in our daily lives and an inevitable impact on the economy," he added.
Separately, the government will tighten monitoring of quarantine rules for the next two weeks ahead of the annual university entrance exam on Dec. 3, which means masks must be worn in all private crammers and they must log all visitors.
The government's hope in easing the lockdown on Nov. 7 was to maintain some precautions while ensuring that people can go about their daily lives and economic activities as much as possible.
Now some believe that was hasty, but experts are divided as usual.
Kim Woo-joo at Korea University Guro Hospital said, "The latest cases of infections are among people who probably caught the virus 10 days ago, so we may have hundreds of infected people around the country. We are in danger of witnessing a winter crisis."
But Ma Sang-hyuk of a doctors' association in South Gyeongsang Province said, "A rise in coronavirus infections is inevitable as we reach a balance between economic activities and quarantine measures. We should not be swayed by slight ups and downs in figures but prevent large-scale infections and secure enough hospital beds."
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