Health officials on Friday announced that the toughest social distancing protocols being implemented in Seoul and its nearby cities will be extended for another couple of weeks due to the record-breaking case tallies.
Son Young-rae, Ministry of Health and Welfare spokesperson, told a press conference that the most strict social distancing rules will continuously be enforced at least until August 8. This, as the strictest rules were not able to curb the rising COVID-19 cases for two weeks.
“The spread in and around the capital appears to be slowing, but it’s hard to say that cases are on a downward slope at this point,” Son said.
The extension of the implementation was agreed upon by municipalities and the central government, he said. Outside experts on the advisory panel also pitched in their stand in order to come up with the decision.
On Friday, the country recorded an additional 1, 630 cases. This is lower than the 1, 842 cases reported on the previous day.
There had been an average of 1, 526 cases a day recorded over the past week. Of the number, about 60 percent were detected in Greater Seoul which included Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province.
Under the restrictions, gathering of more than two people is banned in the Seoul area at a time beyond 6 p.m. Dining establishments, cafes, and gyms are allowed to operate but only until 10 p.m. while weddings and funerals are limited to only a maximum of 49 guests.
Meanwhile, in other parts of South Korea outside the capital city, social distancing is enforced minimally. For example, concerts gathering audiences of up to 4, 000 are retained while escort bars are allowed to operate, The Korea Herald reported.
According to Son, additional restrictions “may come into force if the situation does not stabilize at the end of two weeks.”