South Korea will clamp down on social gatherings and cut the hours of some businesses to fight a record-breaking surge of the coronavirus that has led to a spike in hospitalisations and deaths.
Prime minster Kim Boo-kyum confirmed the government’s intent to restore stricter social distancing measures during a meeting on Wednesday as the country set another new one-day record in infections with 7,850 cases, the fourth time this month the daily tally exceeded 7,000.
The country’s death toll is now 4,456 after 70 virus patients died in the past 24 hours, while a record 964 patients were in critical or serious condition.
Officials previously said the country’s medical system could buckle if the number of serious cases topped 1,000 because it would greatly hamper hospitals’ ability to respond not only to Covid-19 but also to other medical conditions.
Kim Boo-kyum said:
“The government sees the current virus situation as serious and plans to enforce stronger social distancing measures. We are considering measures that include further reducing the size of allowable social gatherings and imposing business-hour restrictions, and these steps will be confirmed and announced soon.”