| 12 April 2024, Friday |

South Korea plans to tighten restrictions on private gatherings beyond Seoul

South Korea’s expansion will be more difficult. As the government attempts to contain its deadliest epidemic, COVID-19 limitations on private gatherings have been imposed outside of the Seoul metropolitan area, according to the country’s prime minister.

“The strictest degree of distance measures in the metropolitan region have been in place for a week, yet the number of verified (virus) cases is rarely dropping… For the time being, preventative actions are required “At a meeting with health officials, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum stated.

From Monday to August 1, the remainder of the country will be subject to Seoul’s present laws, which limit private gatherings to four individuals.

South Korea, once cited as a success story for keeping COVID-19 under control, is battling record infections as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads, triggering a semi-lockdown in the Seoul area.

The toughest level of curbs in the greater Seoul area, including a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m., took effect last week. Gatherings of up to four people are allowed during the daytime.

The country reported 1,454 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing cumulative cases to 177,951 and total deaths to 2,057. Only 30% of South Korea’s 52 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

About 32% of the 1,402 locally acquired cases on Saturday were recorded outside the greater Seoul area, up from 28% a day earlier.


Separately on Sunday, the Ministry of Defense said it will airlift all troops from a ship on anti-piracy patrol in the Middle East after dozens of soldiers on board tested positive for the coronavirus. A replacement crew will steer the vessel back home.

Two aerial tankers departed for the Middle East hours after the ministry confirmed 68 troops on the ship had tested positive for the virus.

The government said on Thursday it would send a medical team to address the outbreak on the vessel.

But there are fears the outbreak could be much worse and require more drastic action. Yonhap News Agency said the Joint Chiefs of Staff had received only 101 results from PCR tests of the more than 300 service members on board, while the rest may be disclosed in coming hours.

On Saturday, an International Olympic Committee member from South Korea tested positive after arriving in Tokyo for the Games and was isolated.

  • Reuters