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S. Korea extends 2.5 distancing scheme for 2 weeks, bans gatherings of 5 or more nationwide

Arirang News
Arirang News
수도권 2.5단계 17일까지 2주 연장…5인이상 모임금지 전국 확대

South Korea reported 8-hundred-24 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
Despite dropping below the one-thousand mark from yesterday,... South Korea will extend strict distancing measures for another two weeks.
It will also tighten quarantine measures at borders to contain the highly infectious mutated variants of the coronavirus.
Lee Kyung-eun has the latest.
South Korea on Saturday decided to extend the Level 2-point-5 distancing measures in the capital region for another two weeks,... until January 17th.
The rest of the country remains at Level 2.
This means, in the greater Seoul area, cafes can only do delivery and take-out, and people can dine in at restaurants only before 9 PM.
Outside the capital, under level two, bars will remain closed, but facilities like singing rooms can operate until 9 PM.
The government decided not to implement the highest Level 3,... citing a slight decline in cases.
Instead, while staying in the current scheme,... it will expand Seoul city's restrictions on personal gatherings nationwide.
"Across the nation, all gatherings of five or more people will be banned, including in restaurants. That doesn't mean 4 is any safer. Please cancel all gatherings in the next two weeks."
Some restrictions have been partially lifted.
Private academies can resume operations,.. only for classes with under 9 students.
And ski resorts can also reopen,... while limiting the capacity to one-third and closing down the slopes after 9 PM.
In the meantime, South Korea will be ramping up quarantine measures at its borders,... as reports of mutated variant cases continue to come in.
On Saturday, testers detected four additional cases of the UK-linked variant, bringing the tally to 9.
The country also saw its first case of the South Africa-linked strain.
The government has already imposed a flight ban and restricted issuing visas,... but stricter quarantine measures will be enforced at airports and seaports.
"All foreign entrants must submit a certificate of a PCR negative test taken within 72 hours before entering the country. It will take effect at airports and seaports, starting the 8th and 15th, respectively."
The government says these measures aim to bring the third wave under control before vaccines are rolled out in February.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.

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