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Defense ministry eases restrictions on troop vacation after govt. lowers social distancing


The defense ministry has eased restrictions on vacationing by soldiers following the government's relaxation of the social distancing scheme, officials said Monday.

Last month, the ministry banned soldiers from going on vacations and restricted their off-installation movement, as the country began to see a surge in COVID-19 infections.

"Vacations will be allowed for new recruits and those who have not traveled off-base for a long time based on the decision by their leadership," Deputy spokesperson Col. Moon Hong-sik told a regular briefing.

But they are not allowed to leave their bases during the upcoming Chuseok holiday later this month due to concerns about the virus spreading, he added.

The ministry also decided to lift the ban on troops' visits to internet cafes, gyms and other facilities deemed risky, though it has advised them to refrain from going to such places.

The adjustment came as the government on Sunday eased the enhanced social distancing guidelines, which were imposed in Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area.

On Monday, South Korea added 109 more COVID-19 cases, including 98 local infections. It was the 12th consecutive day that the number of new infections came below 200. (Yonhap)