South Korea limiting gatherings to four people

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South Korea is limiting gatherings to four people amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol announced Thursday that for at least the next 16 days, gatherings of five or more are banned, even among the fully vaccinated, The Associated Press reported.

If a person isn’t fully vaccinated, they are not permitted to gather with others and would have to eat alone at restaurants. The gathering limits don’t apply to those younger than 18. 

Venues will also have to close early, with restaurants, coffee shops, gyms and karaoke venues closing at 9 p.m. and movie theaters, concert halls and private cram schools closing at 10 p.m, Kwon said.

South Korea recorded a record number of cases on Wednesday, 7,850, according to the AP, and a record number of deaths on Tuesday.

“During this period of standstill, the government will reinforce the stability of our medical response capabilities,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said. “We ask our people to respond to these efforts by actively getting vaccinated.”

More than 81 percent of the country is fully vaccinated with officials loosening coronavirus restrictions back in November and looking to slowly go back to normal life, the AP noted. 

The government was hesitant to reimpose restrictions but ultimately decided to do so due to the spike in cases over the past few weeks. 

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic coronavirus restrictions South Korea

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