The number of coronavirus cases is on the rise in South Korea, especially in the Seoul region, health authorities have announced, calling for meetings to be limited.
While for days the new number of daily cases stood between 500 and 600, it rose to 950 on Friday, including 669 in the Seoul area, which is home to half of South Koreans’ 52 million, said the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KNCA).
“It is a final hurdle to overcome before the arrival of vaccines and treatments,” Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement, calling the situation “very serious”.
The authorities have announced the establishment of 150 additional test centers, which will be installed in places of important passages, such as train stations.
Last week, the government announced restrictions on the return of the virus. Thus, events, especially sporting events, cannot accommodate more than 50 people or spectators, cafes can only serve take-out drinks, and restaurants must close at 9 p.m.
But despite these measures, “population movements have not been reduced,” lamented senior KDCA official Lim Sook-young.
“Infections from face-to-face meetings continue. Please give up on these meetings, ”she asked the population.
According to figures released on Saturday, the country has recorded more than 36,800 cases of COVID-19.
South Korea had experienced, in the spring, a particularly severe contagion, but had almost come to the end with its system of “trace, test, treat”, without ever having to impose the brutal confinements of Europe or others. regions of the world. The population there largely followed the distancing instructions and other rules, in particular the wearing of a mask.
The Korean method of dealing with the pandemic has been regarded as a model, notably by the World Health Organization (WHO).