SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in assured the public Monday that his government will maintain strict measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in spite of the decision to relax social distancing guidelines.
"(The government) will ensure that there will be no loophole, even for a moment, in antivirus measures for high-risk and multiuse facilities," he said at the outset of a weekly meeting with senior Cheong Wa Dae aides.
Moon's remarks came as the government has lowered its social distancing scheme by a notch to Level 1, allowing such businesses as nightclubs and karaoke rooms to reopen and spectators to attend sports games, with certain capacity limits still in place for some facilities in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon.
The measure was taken in comprehensive consideration of difficulties related business owners have suffered and the people's "fatigue" from nearly two months of toughened social distancing regulations, according to the president.
Going forward, health authorities will push for "more precise and effective" steps to contain COVID-19, while minimizing the suspension or shutdown of businesses, he added.
Increased autonomy means enhanced responsibility, Moon pointed out, warning that violators of relevant rules would face heavier punishments in accordance with the revised law on preventing infectious diseases.
Moon said the easing of the social distancing guidelines is based on confidence that South Korea will be able to bring the coronavirus under control.
Newly confirmed coronavirus cases in the country have stayed below 100 for several consecutive days.
Earlier in the day, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 98 additional COVID-19 cases, including 69 locally transmitted infections.
Moon noted, however, it is premature to be complacent, citing the experience of sudden surges in cluster infections. He requested that South Koreans continue to comply with disease control measures.
He pledged the government's all-out efforts to turn the loosening of social distancing guidelines into a "bridge" for the continued easing of relevant regulations.
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