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63.3 pct opposed to immediate easing of social distancing: poll

All News 20:10 April 19, 2020

SEOUL, April 19 (Yonhap) -- More than half, or 63.3 percent, of South Koreans oppose an immediate easing of social distancing, a government poll showed Sunday.

The results were released in line with the government's announcement to extend a national social distancing campaign until early May, with eased regulations in some areas.

Of those opposed, 66.2 percent cited risks of the virus resurfacing while vaccine and treatment development is still under way, according to the poll of 1,000 South Koreans conducted on Friday and Saturday.

Some 14.4 percent cited a continued rise in new infections, while 13.3 percent voiced concerns over overseas cases. Around 6.2 percent said a grace period is necessary for people to adjust to "everyday quarantine" guidelines.

People stand apart from each other at an elementary school in Songpa Ward, southeastern Seoul, as they wait to vote in the general elections on April 15, 2020. (Yonhap)

A total of 66.5 percent of those who opposed to immediate easing said there is no need to specify a deadline to end social distancing, saying the decision should be made after factoring in infections, international situations and vaccine development.

Of the 36.7 percent who called for an immediate easing of social distancing, 43.6 percent said the citizens are closely following quarantine guidelines. Some 19.6 percent said infections have declined sufficiently, while 19.1 percent cited the sluggish economy. Around 17.1 percent cited fatigue over a prolonged social distancing campaign.

South Korea launched a two-week intensive social distancing campaign on March 22. The schedule was extended by two weeks as cases continued to soar.

Earlier in the day, the government extended the campaign to May 5, but with eased regulations for churches, cram schools and bars which had been advised to temporarily shut down.

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