July 06, 2021 14:27
Health authorities are unlikely to ease lockdown as promised in the next few weeks due to a surge of coronavirus infections and a rise in Delta variant cases.
The daily tally of new infections stood at 746 as of Tuesday morning, over 700 for a week while only about 30 percent of the population have had at least their first vaccine jab and just 10.5 percent their second one.
The government earlier promised that vaccinated people can remove their masks outdoors with an exemption from the gathering ban in order to persuade more people to get jabbed but has now backtracked on the plan.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced draconian rules to stem the surge. Among other things, alcohol consumption outdoors will be prohibited after 10 p.m. and violators will be slapped with a fine of up to W100,000 (US$1=W1,131).
The aim is to curb nighttime revels in popular outdoor locations such as the Han River Park. People will also be banned from drinking at tables outside convenience stores.
Face masks will have to be worn by everyone both indoors and outdoors even if they are fully vaccinated. The new rules will be enforced immediately and without a grace period.
Public clinics will extend their working hours until 9 p.m. on weekdays and until 6 p.m. on weekends to offer more COVID tests. There will be also more makeshift facilities to make testing easier for workers in bars and restaurants frequented by young people.
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