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Military to tighten restrictions to curb spread of COVID-19

Defense 14:16 July 10, 2021

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- The military will enhance its own measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in line with government plans to impose tougher controls on the greater Seoul area to fight a new wave of infections, officials said Saturday.

The defense ministry issued new social distancing guidelines to military units Friday, under which vacations, off-installation activities and outsiders' visits will be further restricted Monday for two weeks.

Under the new measures, only 10 percent of members of a unit will be allowed to go on vacation at the same time. Depending on general-level commanders' approval, the number can increase to 15 percent for soldiers whose home is outside the capital area, the ministry said.

A soldier stands guard at the gate of a boot camp in Nonsan, around 200 kilometers south of Seoul, on July 7, 2021, as dozens of conscripts at the camp tested positive for the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

Service members will be banned from off-duty travels, staying out overnight and meetings with visitors in principle. But soldiers will be allowed to go out in areas that are outside the greater capital area and where no COVID-19 cases have occurred for the past seven days.

The ministry also ordered military units to cancel or postpone all private meetings, prohibit nonessential events and travel, and conduct religious services online.

Coronavirus cases in the military totaled 1,124 as of 10 a.m., up five from the previous day, the ministry said.

Earlier in the day, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,378 new COVID-19 cases across the country, marking the highest-ever daily increase for the third straight day, as the nation is grappling with the fourth wave of infections.

On Monday, the government will implement the highest level of social distancing measures in the greater Seoul area for two weeks.

Under the Level 4 rules, private gatherings of three or more people will be banned after 6 p.m. and in-person classes will be closed. Bars, night clubs and other nightlife establishments will be ordered to shut down, while restaurants will be allowed to have dine-in customers until 10 p.m.

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