South Korea is to announce on Sunday whether it’ll extend or ease social distancing measures regarding the coronavirus for the period including Korea’s traditional holiday, Seol, in the second week of February.

Although the recent number of new daily cases is on the decline authorities are being cautious in easing measures as the number of local transmissions can spike if cluster infections continue to break out.

Kim Ji-yeon explains.

South Korea reported 458 new coronavirus cases on Saturday making it the third straight day the tally remained under 500.

The total caseload in the country has risen to 77,850.

Health authorities attributed the latest cases to cluster infections at Hanyang University general hospital in Seoul and the I-M missionary society based in Gwangju.

Due to the continued rise in cluster infections health authorities have delayed their decision from Friday to Sunday to extend or ease social distancing measures for the next two to three weeks.

Authorities are also expected to announce whether they’ll extend the ban on social gatherings of five or more people ahead of Korea’s traditional four-day holiday Seol in which family and relatives usually gather together.

“The government is considering very carefully now more than ever about adjusting the country’s social distancing measure as uncertainties concerning the coronavirus grow.”

Since early December, the greater Seoul area has been set at two.five social distancing, the second-highest level in the five-tier system.

At this level, authorities urge the public to stay at home and only take-outs or deliveries are allowed in restaurants after 9PM.

In the rest of the country, level 2 distancing has been in place meaning authorities restrict the number of people gathering indoors to a maximum of one hundred.

Due to recent cluster infections at hospitals, retirement facilities, and religious venues health authorities say the reproduction rate, which measures the number of people that the average patient infects rose above one indicating that the outbreak is actively spreading.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will hold its first meeting on granting import permission with advisors over AstraZeneca’s vaccine on Sunday. It will announce the results the following day.

The ministry is also considering skipping an extensive approval process to allow emergency use of the vaccine so it can be administered in the last week of February.

Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.

Category: Korea


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