Sunday, December 20, 2020

South Korea reports more than 1,000 coronavirus cases for third straight day

South Korea reported 1,062 new coronavirus cases today, its second-highest ever daily tally, as the government warned businesses it was unacceptable for them to try to dodge shut-down orders by tricking the system.

The daily number was above 1,000 for the third straight day for the first time, data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) showed.

The rash of new cases has shaken a country that has for months been held up as a mitigation success story. But despite its total tally rising to 47,515 infections, South Korea has only suffered 645 deaths.

While the government agonised over whether to tighten up social distancing, which would mean ordering 1.2 million business to suspend operations, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said everyone had to play by the rules.

“There have been increasing attempts to continue operation in an irregular way by changing their stated type of business in order to slip through the government’s anti-virus efforts,” Chung told a government meeting.

“That can never be acceptable.”

Chung did not give any details but media has reported some bars trying to beat the bans by passing themselves off as restaurants.

Chung said that given the burden on businesses, “social consensus” was necessary for a decision to move to tighter rules.

An unprecedented surge in serious cases had strained the health system, with only four critical care beds available in the greater Seoul area as of yesterday, health ministry data showed.

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