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(LEAD) S. Korea to extend current social distancing measures for 2 weeks: PM

Politics 09:43 February 26, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 4th para; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will extend its current social distancing measures for another two weeks, the prime minister said Friday, as sporadic COVID-19 cluster infections continue to pop up across the country.

"The government will decide to extend the current distancing levels for another two weeks starting next week during today's meeting," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said during a regular COVID-19 response meeting held at the government complex in Seoul.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun presides over an interagency meeting on the COVID-19 response held at the government complex in Seoul on Feb. 26, 2021. (Yonhap)

The greater Seoul area, home to around half of the nation's 52-million population, will remain under Level 2 distancing and the rest of the country will be subject to Level 1.5 distancing for an additional two weeks starting next week.

Bans on gatherings of five or more people and restrictions on small businesses, such as restaurants and cafes, will also remain in place for another two weeks, Chung said.

The plan was announced amid South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases having stayed around the 400 mark in the past few days. The country also started its public vaccination program to curb the virus spread.

"Sporadic cluster infections are breaking out continuously," Chung said, while also pointing to the increasing risk of transmission as schools prepare to reopen next week.

Chung urged the public to adhere to the government's social distancing rules, expressing concerns of a shortage of medical resources in the case of a resurgence of another pandemic wave.

He said that authorities will prepare to revamp the current social distancing scheme after monitoring the virus situation for the time being.

Chung also noted that the public is hoping for a return to normal, daily life from the public vaccine program and promised that the government will do all it can to fulfill that dream.

This file photo shows people maintaining social distancing to enter an exhibition at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul on Jan. 19, 2021. (Yonhap)

odissy@yna.co.kr
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