South Korean Health Minister Park Neung-hoo speaks during a Central Disaster Management Headquarters meeting on Thursday. (Health Ministry)
Strict social distancing will be reinstated for the next two weeks in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province until June 14, to preemptively stem further spread of recent coronavirus outbreaks that centered in the metropolitan region, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Thursday.
The restoration of the coronavirus countermeasures comes less than a month since the nationwide guidance expired on May 6.
Park said the decision was reached at an emergency cabinet meeting convened by the prime minister Thursday morning.
All communal facilities including nightlife businesses, religious establishments, museums, theaters and parks will remain closed for two weeks accordingly, he said. Companies are recommended to implement telecommuting and flexible work schedules.
To allow students to return to classrooms as scheduled, places frequented by children and young adults such as private cram schools and gaming cafes are also urged to suspend their operations.
Park said the amplified measures were intended to enable schools to follow through with the already disrupted academic calendars.
Bucheon, a satellite city of Seoul, was first to end the relaxation of disease control guidance Wednesday, delaying school openings and closing down high-risk businesses.
“We have to keep in mind that the coronavirus is still around us, and continue to abide by safety rules set forth by the disease control agency such as wearing face masks, maintaining hand hygiene and practicing social distancing,” the minister said.
By Kim Arin (email@example.com