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Prime minister urges suspension of public facility to stem COVID-19

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun appeals people Saturday not to visit public venues or take part in public gatherings in the next two weeks to stop the coronavirus pandemic. He says next two weeks are
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun appeals people Saturday not to visit public venues or take part in public gatherings in the next two weeks to stop the coronavirus pandemic. He says next two weeks are "critical" in containing the pandemic here. (Yonhap)

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged people Saturday to refrain from visiting public facilities – from bars and restaurants to indoor gyms to religious gatherings – in the next two weeks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Stronger self-isolation is unavoidable to contain the virus and to restore peaceful daily life to our children,” Chung said in a public statement.

The government will invoke relevant laws to force noncompliant facility operators to close down their shops and to disband public gatherings that obstruct concerted efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, which has sickened nearly 9,000 people here and killed 104 as of Saturday.

The prime minister appealed to people to stay indoors as long as possible and to cancel or postpone gatherings. 

When outside, people are advised to follow all the recommended precautions such as wearing face masks and keeping a safe distance from each other to avoid mass infections, he added.

Chung reaffirmed that the government stands ready to exhaust all avenues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic at home, and highlighted social solidarity and corresponding actions to help achieve that.

The government's measures came just before local schools are set to reopen in early April after a series of postponements. Neither delaying the reopening again nor pressing ahead with it amid the unabated outbreak was an option or the right call, Chung said.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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