South Korea Extends Social Distancing Measures Ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday

South Korea extended its social distancing measures as it anticipates a surge in COVID-19 infections toward a thanksgiving holiday in September.

“We fear a spike in outbreaks from increased movement around the Chuseok holiday,” Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said that the greater Seoul area will remain at Level 4 social distancing, South Korea’s toughest tier of restrictions, while the rest of the country remains at Level 3.

However, Kim added that restaurants and cafes would be allowed to close an hour past the 9-p.m. curfew during the week of the Chuseok holiday.

A maximum of six people is allowed to gather in the new restriction, given that two of them are fully vaccinated, and will be allowed to extend past the 6-p.m. curfew if four of them are fully vaccinated.

“The government seeks to readjust the anti-virus guidelines to a reasonable level so the difficulties facing people’s lives can be relieved a little,” Kim reassured.

South Korea’s Health Ministry said that if vaccination drives go as planned, COVID-19 cases are expected to peak at 2,300 in mid-September and go down the week after.

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