Tighter curbs as S.Korea sets COVID record

·1-min read

South Korea has tightened social distancing rules across most of the country to tackle its worst-ever outbreak of coronavirus a day after new cases soared to a new daily peak of 1615.

The latest daily tally easily surpassed the previous record of 1378 set last Friday, adding to growing worries centred on the rapid spread of the more contagious Delta variant and a slowing vaccination campaign.

Clusters of infections have sprung up quickly around the capital Seoul and neighbouring areas fuelled by the Delta variant, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said from Thursday the government would tighten distancing rules across most of the country, with the exception of some southern regions, to level two on a four-level scale.

Under level two, gatherings of more than eight people are banned, and restaurants and bars must close by midnight.

The toughest level four curbs, which include a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6pm, were imposed on Monday in the greater Seoul area.

For much of the pandemic South Korea has been one of the world's coronavirus success stories with a largely effective campaign to trace and smother clusters of infection.

The recent outbreaks have tarnished that image and shaken public confidence but nevertheless, South Korea's case numbers are much lower than those of many other countries at 171,911 infections in all and 2,048 deaths, KDCA data showed.

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