S.Korea reports 315 new coronavirus cases, tightens social deistancing rules

Seoul, August 22 (D&D) — South Korea said stricter social sistancing guidelines to curb the spread of the coronavirus will be rolled out nationwide starting Sunday as it battles a new outbreak of the disease from the capital, Seoul reported.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported 315 new domestic coronavirus infections at midnight on Friday, the latest in a series of triple-digit increases in new local cases that have increased the number to 17,002 with 309 deaths.

South Korea used advanced contact tracking and widespread testing to contain its first outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but Asia’s fourth-largest economy has seen persistent outbreaks in recent weeks, especially in and around densely populated Seoul and surrounding areas.

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In Seoul and some surrounding cities, the government has reintroduced social distribution rules, including restricting large gatherings, banning church-friendly gatherings, while closing nightclubs, karaoke bars, buffets and cyber-cafés.

The same guidelines will be introduced in other areas of the country from Sunday. However, in some areas with fewer infections, the guidelines would be recommended rather than mandatory.

“If we do not curb the spread (of the virus) in the early stages, this will grow as a large wave. There is nothing more important for us than to focus on responding to COVID-19,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said at a briefing on Saturday.

The Department of Health also said it was enrapturing its decision to pursue a policy that would increase the number of medical students until the situation stabilized with COVID-19.