The government on Tuesday decided to tighten social distancing rules in Greater Seoul region -- including Gyeonggi Province and Incheon --- as part of efforts to control the sprawling COVID-19 outbreak.
“With the sense of crisis in mind that anyone can be infected at any time anywhere, I urge you to stay home as much as possible, except when it is necessary to go out –- such as commuting,” said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun in a statement.
Starting midnight Wednesday, in-person gathering and events with more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors are banned. Some 12 types of at-risk businesses such as nightclubs, karaoke rooms, buffet restaurants and Internet cafes, as well as indoor public facilities will be closed.
In the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases traced to several churches, in-person worship services and church-related gatherings in the Seoul Metropolitan area – home to some 25 million people in Korea -- will only be prohibited.
Korea reported 257 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, raising the total caseload to 15,761. It reported nearly 1,000 cases for the past five days, mostly traced to churches.
By Ock Hyun-ju (email@example.com