South Korea loosens social distance rules amid downward virus trend


In view of a downward trend in new infections with the coronavirus, South Korea has relaxed the rules put in place to reduce the amount of social contact between people.

From Monday, facilities classified as high-risk such as nightclubs, karaoke bars, buffet restaurants and fitness studios have been able to reopen, provided masks are worn and guest lists are kept.

People can also visit churches again for services or stadiums for games in the professional soccer and baseball leagues, as long as an upper limit of 30 per cent of capacity is maintained.

The authorities also reported a slight increase in the daily number of recorded coronavirus cases to almost 100.
In view of the relaxed distancing rules, the authorities warned citizens not to be negligent.

“We have to find a balance between our daily routine and the quarantine measures,” said Yoon Tae Ho from the Ministry of Health.

The government made the decision to relax the rules on Sunday. The average value for local infections had fallen to fewer than 60 per day in the past two weeks and the reproduction rate, or R-value, to below 1, which means one infected person infected fewer than one other.

According to the authorities, 97 new cases were recorded on Sunday, meaning the total number of infections with the coronavirus climbed to 24,703.

So far, 433 deaths in connection with the virus have been reported in the country of 52 million. Most of the new infections were in the capital Seoul and the surrounding region.

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