South Korea expands rules of social distortion as coronovirus outbreak increases


SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Saturday it would meet tough social discrimination guidelines to curb the nationwide spread of coronovirus as it grapples with a new outbreak of the disease spreading from the capital Seoul.

FILE PHOTO: Women wearing masks to protect against coronovirus disease (COVID-19) use portable fans to cool off on August 20, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji

The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 315 new domestic coronovirus infections by midnight on Friday, with triple digit increases in new local cases.

South Korea used advanced contact tracing and extensive testing to prevent the first outbreak of coronaviruses, but Asia’s fourth-largest economy has experienced frequent outbreaks in recent weeks, mostly in Seoul and the surrounding areas.

The latest number takes the country’s tally to 17,002 with 309 deaths.

In Seoul and some surrounding cities, the government has re-enforced rules for second-tier social disturbances, including banning in-person church meetings while closing nightclubs, karaoke bars, buffets and cybercafes. Includes

The same guidelines will be implemented in other areas across the country effective on Sunday. However, in some areas with fewer infections, guidelines would be recommended rather than mandatory.

“If we do not control the spread (of the virus) in the initial stages, it will develop into a massive wave. For us, there is nothing more important than focusing on replying to COVID-19, ”Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a briefing on Saturday.

Health officials have classified social distinction rules into three phases – Phase 1 being the least intense and Phase 3 being the most difficult, where schools and businesses are urged to close.

“If we increase the social removal guidelines for the third phase, it is inevitable that they will take a toll on people’s daily lives and economy. We seriously urge you for the position, ”KCDC Deputy Director Kwon Joon-woo told in a briefing.

Kwon said South Korea has provided anti-viral drug remissions to treat 143 patients in 35 hospitals, but access to the drug is irregular due to issues on the supplier’s behalf.

In June, South Korea asked drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. to supply enough remediesavir to treat more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in preparation for a possible second wave of infection. [nL4N2EF26B]

The Ministry of Health also said that it is postponing its decision to pursue policies that increase the number of medical students until the status of COVID-19 is stabilized.

Thousands of South Korean doctors have staged strikes and protests about government plans to train new doctors, stating that there are enough doctors but better conditions and systems are needed to allocate them properly. [nL4N2FN1LX]

Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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