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[Newsmaker] Unfair, ineffective social distancing rules must be revised: PM

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun speaks during a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held at Seoul City Hall on Monday. (Yonhap)
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun speaks during a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held at Seoul City Hall on Monday. (Yonhap)
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Monday that social distancing rules that are considered either unfair or ineffective must be changed, suggesting that authorities may soon revise the state-mandated distancing scheme to address growing complaints among small business owners.

"While mandating strict adherence (of distancing rules) in high-risk areas, bold revisions should be made on measures that are either unfair or ineffective," Chung said during an interagency meeting on the COVID-19 response held at the Seoul City Hall.

"We can expect anticipated results only when the public, who are the essential agents of the antivirus measures, can practice and accept the rules," he added.

His comments came amid growing complaints among disgruntled small business owners, especially among those who run indoor sports and fitness centers, over what they consider unfair shutdown standards.

South Korea has been operating the so-called Level 2.5 social distancing scheme in the greater Seoul area, which is the second highest in the country's five-tier scheme, and Level 2 rules in other areas since Dec. 8.

Authorities are expected to discuss revising the nation's social distancing rules, as the enforcement of current measures are scheduled to end Sunday, and with new daily infections, which stayed above 1,000 for multiple days in past weeks, now showing a downward trend.

Chung also expressed concerns over consistent cluster outbreaks at call centers throughout the country. He called on the labor ministry to thoroughly review the virus response measures at call centers and swiftly address inadequate steps.

"The call center industry must again carry out adequate measures by reviewing its virus response situation with a sense of caution," he said. (Yonhap)
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