South Korea reverses ‘living with Covid’ plan — Analysis
South Korea has had to stop its pandemic-related relaxation of restrictions due to the continued rise in Covid-19 infection. Instead, it will reintroduce business hours and public gatherings controls.
These new restrictions take effect Saturday, and will continue until January 2. Prime Minister Kim Boo Kyum announced that the curfew would be in place at 9pm for cafes, bars, nightclubs and restaurants. The new restrictions were announced for movie theaters and internet cafés.
The education ministry stated that schools in Seoul will be more open to distance learning, and they will operate with a smaller capacity.
The tougher regulations mark a reversal of the previous relaxation of some restrictions under South Korea’s ‘living with Covid’ plan. In the event of an increase in infection rates, health officials warn that implementation could be delayed or reversed.
Since July, the number of daily new cases has been in quadruple figures. It first surpassed 7,000 last week. On Thursday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency recorded 7,622 additional cases. A record 989 patients are now in critical condition, which is the highest number since last year’s pandemic.
“We will be able to overcome this critical moment only if we quickly bring the spread under control through strong social distancing measures,”Kim urged people not to crowd New Year’s Eve celebrations, as she said this on Thursday.