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(LEAD) S. Korea mulls extending social distancing campaign until May 5

All News 23:44 April 18, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with more info throughout)

SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is considering extending social distancing guidances until May 5 in a bid to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, government officials said Saturday.

The government is moving to extend the campaign by another two weeks in order to prevent infections of COVID-19 during upcoming holidays, but it is considering easing the strictness of implementation, according to officials.

The government plans to announce its decision on whether to extend the drive Sunday, when the campaign is scheduled to end.

The extension would take into account the possibility that outdoor activity could increase as the country will mark Buddha's birthday on April 30, Labor Day on May 1 and Children's Day on May 5.

Since March 22, the government has intensified the social distancing drive, recommending churches, sports facilities and clubs to suspend operations to curb cluster infections of the virus.

While extending the social distancing advisory, the government is considering lifting the recommendations.

Instead, the government is expected to instruct thorough compliance with anti-infection rules. Otherwise, offenders may face stringent measures.

South Korea reported fewer 20 new coronavirus cases on Saturday for the first time in about two months, bringing the total infections at 10,653.

These combined photos show key landmarks in Seoul cast in blue light on April 16 and 17, 2020, as part of the Blue Light Campaign to express gratitude to South Korean medical personnel for fighting the novel coronavirus. Seoul's metropolitan government said they will be lit up till May 15. Counterclockwise from top left are the Seoullo 7017 pedestrian overpass, Seoul World Cup Stadium, Namsan Seoul Tower and Seoul City Hall. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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