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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Sept. 15)

Editorials from Korean dailies 07:01 September 15, 2020

Temporary easing
Limited easing should be joined with individual vigilance

The government eased social distancing for Seoul and its surrounding area by half a notch to Level 2, Monday. It is a limited two weeks of easing, down from the Level 2.5 measures of the past two weeks. The caveat is that distancing efforts will be further strengthened from Sept. 28 as a special 14-day antivirus period will be introduced for the approaching Chuseok holiday.

With new daily infections still in the 100s, the latest measure can only be received with nervous relief. Small businesses will be relieved to reopen, in the case of internet cafes, or operate longer hours, in the case of franchise cafes and restaurants. The economic losses suffered by these businesses were one of the main reasons for the easing. Citizens in the area may be happier for a bit more normalcy in their lives. Yet, no one should declare themselves worry-free from COVID-19.

That's why we must commit to the highest level of voluntary civic duty by adhering to hygiene and anti-COVID-19 precautions. The government is asking people to refrain from returning to their hometowns during Chuseok so as to lessen migration during that time. The momentary relief should be appreciated with hyper vigilance. Jeong Eun-kyeong, chief of the newly launched Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, has pledged to come up with a domestically developed vaccine by next year, and treatment by this year. In the meantime, one out of four new infections are untraceable and small infection clusters are occurring at hospitals and homes for senior citizens.

The latest step shows the government has learned and will offer flexible guidelines to fight COVID-19. The guidelines may feel discriminatory but we should keep in mind that the goal is to protect all.

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