People in South Korea will be celebrating Christmas and New Year under a strict set of COVID-19 prevention guidelines, which will stay in place until January 3rd.
For 11 days, gatherings of 5 or more people are not allowed at restaurants anywhere in the country meaning no reservations with 5 or more people, even if they are seated on separate tables.
Customers who violate the order face fines of up to 100,000 Korean won, or around 90 U.S. dollars, and restaurant owners who accept a group of 5 or more people can be fined 2,7-hundred dollars.
And in the capital area, the government also urged the public to refrain from such meetings in places other than restaurants.

“This does not mean a gathering of up to four people is safe. At this time, please cancel all meetings and appointments, and understand that a meeting of 5 or more people is highly risky.”

With sporadic cluster infections popping up across the nation, 10 of the security guards for the house of former President Lee Myung-bak have tested positive for COVID-19.
The virus spread has also hit the Korea Army Training Center in Nonsan.
On Thursday, the center reported 11 cases that are currently under epidemiological investigation but has not released details of how exactly they were infected in the first place.

On Thursday, South Korea confirmed an additional 9-hundred-85 COVID-19 cases.
All but 30 of the cases were locally transmitted.
Of 9-hundred 55 local transmissions, Seoul alone saw 3-hundred-14 which was lower than yesterday, but still above 3-hundred for 9th day in a row.
This brings the total number of cases to more than 53-thousand.
And 17 more people have died from the virus.
Choi Won-jong, Arirang News.

Reporter : peterwjchoi@arirang.com

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