S.Korea mulls raising Covid curbs to highest level

Updated December 14, 2020

social social social social S.Korea mulls raising Covid curbs to highest level
Seoul, Dec 14 (IANS) The South Korean government is considering toughening social distancing restrictions to the highest level after the country reported its largest daily coronavirus caseload of 1,030 new cases.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Monday that implementing the toughest social distancing scheme requires careful examination despite increasing calls from experts and the public to raise the level to curb the fast growth of Covid-19 cases, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"(Implementing) the Level 3 social distancing scheme is the last resort that we can choose, and it requires cautious deliberation, as it calls for confidence and social consensus on its effectiveness," Chung said during a government meeting of top officials in charge of dealing with the pandemic.

On Sunday, President Moon Jae-in called for all-out efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections in the country, saying the country's anti-virus fight stands at a "crucial phase" before deciding whether to lift the social distancing alert to the highest.

Moon agreed that the country now faces its "biggest-ever" coronavirus crisis.

Unless South Korea breaks the trend of growing virus transmissions nationwide "for now," it would have to consider raising the social distancing guidelines to Level 3, the top of the five-tier system.

"Until then, social distancing is the strongest vaccine and treatment. Enhancing social distancing to Level 3 is the last means (to use)."

Under Level 3, almost all indoor and outdoor facilities, except essential ones, will be forced to close.

All sporting events will be prohibited, with schools switched to online learning and working from home expanded.

South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell back below 1,000 on Monday on fewer tests over the weekend.

The country added 718 new cases, including 682 local infections, raising the total caseload to 43,484, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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