S. Korea to extend toughest social-distancing rules in capital for 1 month
South Korea decided on Friday to extend its toughest social-distancing rules in the capital area for one more month amid the continued COVID-19 resurgence.
The Level 4 social-distancing guideline, the highest in the country's four-tier quarantine rules, will be kept in place in Seoul, its surrounding Gyeonggi province and the western port city of Incheon until October 3.
The toughest quarantine scheme has been maintained in the Seoul metropolitan area since July 12.
Under the Level 4 rules, the business hour of restaurants and cafes will be lengthened to 10:00 pm local time from the previous 9:00 pm as the tight quarantine measures roiled their businesses.
The number of people who are allowed to gather after 6:00 pm will be unchanged at two, but the number will be permitted to rise to six including four people who are fully vaccinated.
The fully inoculated people refer to those who received the second dose of vaccine two weeks ago.
In the daytime, the gathering of as many as four people is allowed under the Level 4 guideline.
The extended quarantine measures came as the country's COVID-19 resurgence showed no sign of letup.
In the latest tally, South Korea reported 1,709 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 257,110. The daily caseload hovered above 1,000 for 59 straight days.
Of the new cases, 540 were Seoul residents. The number of the newly infected people residing in Gyeonggi province and the western port city of Incheon was 513 and 115.
The virus spread also raged in the non-metropolitan region. The number of new infections in the non-capital areas was 507, or 30.3 percent of the total local transmission.
In the non-capital areas, the Level 3 social-distancing guideline will be maintained until October 3.
Under the Level 3 guideline, any private gathering of five or more people is prohibited, but the number can increase to eight including four fully vaccinated people.
The multi-use facilities, such as restaurants and cafes, can be run until 10:00 pm local time.