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S.Korea raises Seoul COVID-19 curb to top level, new cases set 2nd straight national record

People wait in line for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a test site temporarily set up at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2021. REUTERS / Heo Ran

SEOUL July 9 (Reuters) – South Korea raises coronavirus restrictions to the highest level in Seoul and some neighboring countries for two weeks from Monday, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Friday after new COVID-1

9 cases rose to a daily record for the second running day.

The country reported 1,316 new COVID-19 cases from midnight Thursday, up from Wednesday’s previous record of 1,275 a day. On Thursday, a health official warned that the number could almost double by the end of July. Read more

Under the new curbs, people are advised to stay home as much as possible, schools are closed, public meetings are limited to two people after noon. 18:00, and conventions or other events are prohibited. Nightclubs and bars would be closed, while restaurants and cafes would have limited space and only go out after noon. 22.00

“Seoul alone saw 500 confirmed cases on the third day,” Kim told a televised government meeting. “Four out of five infections are from the Seoul metropolitan area.”

While the new “level 4” restrictions – the toughest of all distancing measures – will be imposed on Monday, Kim also advised the public to refrain from private gatherings starting on Friday.

He also said that during the two-week semi-lockdown, the government will suspend a program introduced earlier this year that allowed mask-free outdoor gatherings for citizens vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot.

South Korea has only given both shots in the double vaccination process to just over 10% of its 52 million inhabitants, while 30% has received at least one dose, the majority of which is over 60 years old. The country aims to achieve crew immunity by November by inoculating 70% of the public with at least one shot by September.

South Korea’s total COVID-19 infections so far stand at 165,344 with 2,036 deaths.

Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Clip by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Kenneth Maxwell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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