Social distancing measures, such as limiting the operation of four national private gatherings and restaurants and cafes at 9 p.m., will be extended until mid-January of the new year. In department stores and large marts, a new quarantine pass (inoculation certificate, voice confirmation system) is applied.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters announced on the 31st that the current social distancing measures will be extended for two weeks until January 16th. Private gatherings are allowed up to a maximum of 4 people, and the restrictions on the operating hours of restaurants and cafes to 9 p.m. remain in place. Those who have not been vaccinated can only use restaurants and cafes alone, and cannot sit at the same table with those who have been vaccinated.
The new change is the operating hours of movie theaters and concert halls. Previously, it had to close at 10 p.m., but from January 3, it can accept guests until 9 p.m. based on the start time of movie screenings and performances. However, the closing time of the movie or performance must not exceed 12 pm. “These facilities have a relatively low risk of infection, and we took into account the fact that screenings and performances last two to three hours,” said an official from the main script.
The facilities that apply the quarantine pass will also be expanded. In addition to restaurants and cafes, singing practice areas, indoor sports facilities, bathhouse businesses, entertainment facilities, reading rooms, and study cafes, where the quarantine pass was previously applied, the quarantine pass will also be implemented at department stores and hypermarkets. Accordingly, only those who have completed inoculation, those who have a PCR-negative certificate within 48 hours, children and adolescents under the age of 18, and those who have recovered from COVID-19 can use these facilities.
However, in order to reduce confusion at the site, it was decided to take effect from January 10 after a one-week preparation period.
All other social distancing measures will remain in place. Events and gatherings are limited to 49 people, including those who are not vaccinated. Up to 299 people can be gathered by composing only those who have completed inoculation. Religious facilities can also enter up to 30% of the occupancy (up to 299 people) when including those who are not vaccinated, and up to 70% of the capacity when only those who have been vaccinated.
Quarantine authorities have determined that the risk factors for COVID-19 are still piling up. As of the 31st, there were 1,056 severe cases of Corona 19, recording the 1,000-person range for 11 consecutive days. The death toll also recorded 108, the second highest on record. The number of Omicron virus infections increased by 269 in one day. This is due to the increase in the number of tests as the rapid PCR test, which can determine the presence of Omicron infection in 3 to 4 hours, was applied.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) predicted that if Omicron becomes the dominant species, there will be 12,000 to 14,000 confirmed cases by the end of January, even if the current distance is maintained.
An official from the quarantine authorities said, “It is necessary to lower the scale of the epidemic as much as possible by the end of January, when an edible COVID-19 treatment is in earnest.”
Reporter Lee Seon-ah email@example.com
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