South Korea Tightens Social Distancing, Warns of New COVID-19 Crisis

South Korea will impose stricter social distancing rules for greater Seoul a month after easing them, officials said, warning of a bigger crisis if anti-COVID-19 efforts fail to dampen a spike in new cases.

Starting Tuesday midnight, tighter curbs will ban public gatherings of 100 people or more, limit religious services and audiences at sporting events to 30 percent capacity, and require high-risk facilities like clubs and karaoke bars to broaden distance among guests.

South Korea is one of the world’s coronavirus mitigation success stories after tackling the first COVID-19 epidemic outside China with aggressive tracing and testing, but continues to battle rises in infections.

The tougher restrictions came as the daily case tally hovered above 200 for a fourth consecutive day, with a series of cluster outbreaks emerging from offices, medical facilities and small gatherings in Seoul and surrounding regions where around half of the country’s 52 million population live.

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