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South Korea to impose more social distancing rules in Seoul area amid new coronavirus outbreak

South Korea to impose more social distancing rules in Seoul area amid new coronavirus outbreak
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South Korean officials are imposing more social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area starting Wednesday amid a new coronavirus outbreak. 

The new restrictions prohibit public gatherings of 100 people or more, limit religious services and sports audiences to 30 percent capacity and require clubs and karaoke bars to boost social distancing among customers, Reuters reported

Officials announced the rules Tuesday local time after the daily new case count reached above 200 for the fourth consecutive day. The country that has widely been considered successful in combating the pandemic has seen recent outbreaks from offices, medical facilities and small gatherings in the Seoul area.

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Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a meeting that “Our anti-coronavirus efforts are facing a crisis, and the situation is particularly serious in the Seoul metropolitan area,” according to Reuters. 

“The heightened curbs would cause greater inconvenience in our daily lives ... but we all know from our experiences that there would be an even bigger crisis if we don’t act now,” he said.

South Korea recorded 230 new cases on Monday, the ninth straight day of triple digits, with 202 locally transmitted and 28 imported. Almost 68 percent of the locally transmitted cases came from the greater Seoul area.

Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency Director Jeong Eun-kyeong cautioned that the daily count could reach 400 cases in the next few weeks.

The country’s cumulative case count since the beginning of the pandemic reached 28,998 cases, leading to 494 deaths, according to Reuters.