South Korea’s COVID-19 infections still surging ahead of curbs in capital

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Coronavirus cases continue to worsen in South Korea after a resurgence prompted the government to impose its highest social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area from next week.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,378 new virus cases during the last 24 hours, the highest daily infections for a third consecutive day. Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said yesterday the surge leaves the government no choice but to impose its toughest restrictions.

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The stricter social distancing rules will shutter night-time entertainment businesses and ban gatherings of three or more people from 6 p.m. The restrictions take effect for two weeks on July 12 for the greater Seoul region, where most of the recent infections have emerged from transmissions in restaurants, bars and shopping malls.

Officials said 1,021 of the new cases were in the Seoul, Gyeonggi and Incheon regions, where almost half of South Korea’s population live.

The latest resurgence is a setback for a country that has been lauded as a model for containing the outbreak without a lockdown. South Korea has resisted taking harsh measures in an effort to prevent damaging the economy, in favor of managing outbreaks with targeted quarantine restrictions.

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