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More than 2 mln facilities to face restrictions under Level 3 social distancing: ministry

All News 19:50 December 13, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- More than 2 million multiuse facilities and businesses will face restrictions if the government raises the social distancing scheme to Level 3, the health ministry said Sunday.

Son Young-rae, a ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing that the highest level calls for a no-assembly order on around 450,000 facilities and restricted services at around 1.57 million others.

People register for a COVID-19 test at a testing facility in Gangnam Ward, Seoul, on Dec. 13, 2020. (Yonhap)

South Korea operates a five-tier social distancing scheme, with the greater Seoul area currently under the second-highest Level 2.5 and the rest of the country under Level 2.

Calls have grown for an elevation to Level 3 amid record-setting coronavirus case tallies this weekend. On Sunday, the country added a record 1,030 daily cases, a day after adding 950, the biggest number since the country reported its first COVID-19 case in January.

"When we decide to adopt Level 3, we will also review stronger antivirus measures that can be added to what is already in the manual," Son said. "We would look at tougher measures for high-risk facilities in light of cluster infection trends and characteristics of the spread."

Level 3 bans all gatherings of 10 or more people and requires all nonessential multiuse facilities to close.

Department stores and other large stores will be subject to a no-assembly order, while other shops may be required to close after 9 p.m., Son said.

"Level 3 is the final measure we can use to curb the spread of COVID-19," he said. "There is no Level 3.5, 4 or 5."

The spokesman added that without the voluntary participation of the public, even Level 3 may not produce the desired effect.


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