The health authorities in South Korea have decided to raise the level of social distancing across the country due to a surge in cases of COVID-19 over the past week.
There have been more than 300 for each of the last five days, so the government announced for stronger social distancing measures starting Tuesday.
Our Kim Bo-kyoung reports.
On Sunday, South Korea reported 3-hundred-30 new cases of COVID-19, and for the first time, the number was over 3-hundred for a fifth straight day.
Most were in the greater capital area with 219 in Seoul, Gyeonggi-do Province and Incheon.
The surge is due to small cluster infections across the country at schools, hospitals and small gatherings which are especially hard for the health authorities to monitor.
New cases are averaging 175 per day in the capital area and 15 in Gangwon-do Province.
Both regions are on social distancing level 1.5, but the average is getting closer to 200, which would trigger level two.
The average of new cases nationwide for the past week is 2-hundred-73, which is getting closer to the level-two threshold of 3-hundred.
Therefore, the South Korean government has decided to take preemptive measures and raise the social distancing to level two starting Tuesday the 24th for the capital region and level 1.5 for both Jeollanamdo and Jeollabuk-do Provinces.
“Considering this trend, the capital area will reach the threshold for level 2 an average two-hundred new cases per day by Tuesday and 1.5 for both Jeollanamdo and Jeollabuk-do Provinces. Given the seriousness of the situation and the time we need for preparation, we don’t have to wait until the criteria are met.”
Other areas, such as Suncheon City in Jeollanam-do Province and Hadong-gun in Gyeongsangnam-do Province, have already raised their levels to two, but the spread is not slowing down.
Jeollabuk-do Province has also announced that it’s going to level 1.5 starting Monday due to cluster infections linked to Wonkang University Hospital.
With social distancing raised to level two, some high-risk facilities including clubs and bars will be closed.
Cafes will only offer take out and delivery, and the same for restaurants after 9 PM.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News.

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