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S. Korea offering services to address 'corona blues'

All News 15:02 September 08, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- The government has been offering a range of services to help people cope with stress and depression amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Tuesday.

The move comes as an increasing number of South Koreans are suffering from the "corona blues," which refers to depression caused by the coronavirus outbreak that began in the country in late January.

"Many people seem to be suffering from the corona blues amid the prolonged outbreak of COVID-19," Yoon Tae-ho, a ranking health official, said in a daily coronavirus briefing. "There has been rising demand for counseling on depression and suicide prevention."

The government currently operates a psychological counseling hotline for people suffering from the corona blues, with 17 municipal and provincial governments running support centers for mental restoration.

According to government data, the number of psychological consultation cases came to more than 4,400 cases Friday, up sharply from about 3,100 on Aug. 14.

South Korea has been striving to contain a resurgence of virus cases as daily infections have been in the triple digits since Aug. 14 due to cluster infections tied to churches and a large-scale rally in central Seoul.

Health authorities have put an enhanced social distancing scheme, called Level 2.5 measures, in place in the greater Seoul area. Under the scheme, eating at restaurants and small eateries is only allowed until 9 p.m. Franchise coffee chains, bakeries and ice cream parlors are permitted to offer only takeout and delivery.

So far, the novel coronavirus has infected nearly 21,400 South Koreans with the country's death toll reaching 341.

This photo, provided by the National Assembly on Sept. 7, 2020, shows a quarantine official disinfecting the parliamentary building in Seoul after a journalist covering the assembly tested positive for the new coronavirus. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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