Shoppers and supply staff stroll previous a row of stalls closed following a Covid-19 coronavirus cluster there, at Namdaemun market in Seoul on December 11, 2020.
Ed JONES / AFP
South Korea on Saturday reported its highest day by day variety of coronavirus circumstances to this point, with a surge centred on the capital area sparking fears the nation may lose management of the unfold.
Officials introduced 950 new infections after a number of days reporting numbers starting from about 500 to 600.
Some 669 had been reported within the better Seoul space on Saturday, based on the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, prompting worries a few main outbreak within the densely populated space — dwelling to half the nation’s 52 million individuals.
“This is the last hurdle before the roll-out of vaccines and treatments,” President Moon Jae-in mentioned in a press release, calling the state of affairs “very grave”.
“The government will make utmost efforts using the full administrative power” to deliver the unfold below management, he added.
An further 150 testing centres will probably be arrange in areas with the heavy motion of individuals together with practice stations.
Officials mentioned infections linked to a church and a hospital within the Seoul metropolitan space, in addition to personal gatherings, drove up the tally of circumstances.
The spike got here regardless of the federal government’s tightening of social distancing guidelines within the capital space earlier this week.
The measures embody a ban on gatherings of greater than 50 individuals and spectators at sports activities occasions. Cafes can serve solely takeaways, whereas eating places should shut by 9 pm, with solely deliveries permitted afterwards.
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Despite the modifications, “people’s movement has not been reduced significantly”, senior KDCA official Lim Sook-young instructed a information briefing.
“Infections from personal face-to-face meetings have been continuing… Please cancel all such meetings,” she mentioned.
Saturday’s determine takes the overall variety of home recorded circumstances within the nation to greater than 36,800.
South Korea endured one of many worst early Covid-19 outbreaks exterior mainland China, however introduced it broadly below management with its “trace, test and treat” strategy.
It by no means imposed the form of lockdowns ordered in a lot of Europe and different elements of the world.
The nation has beforehand been held up as a mannequin of find out how to fight the pandemic, together with by the World Health Organization.
The public has largely adopted social distancing and different guidelines, comparable to sporting face masks.