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Saturday, July 02 2022

Moon apologises for restoring tough social distancing measures - 2 min read

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Seoul: South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday December 16 apologised to the nation for restoring tough social distancing measures following a spike in coronavirus cases and deaths.

Moon issued the apology shortly after the government announced new measures to reduce the maximum private gathering size to four people and restore a 9 p.m. curfew on restaurant and cafe business hours, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“I am sorry that we have had to once again strengthen antivirus measures,” Moon was quoted as saying by his spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.

“Over the course of the phased return to normal, we failed to suppress the increase in critically ill patients and failed to prepare sufficiently, including in terms of securing hospital beds,” he said, according to Park.

The President promised to bring the situation under control as much as possible during the period that the virus curbs will be in place, or from Saturday until January 2, 2022.

He especially pledged a swift decision on providing financial compensation to small business owners and self-employed people who are likely to be among the hardest hit by the curbs.

Under the new measures, the use of restaurants and cafes will be restricted to up to four vaccinated people per visit. Those who have not been vaccinated will be able to use the facilities alone or request take-out or delivery.

Bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues will also be subject to the 9 p.m. curfew, while movie theatres, concert halls and internet cafes will be able to operate until 10 p.m.

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The differentiation is based on the extent to which masks can be worn and whether there is eating inside.

The measures represent a sharp reversal of the government’s “living with Covid-19” scheme under which all business curfews were lifted, while the cap on private gatherings was raised considerably before being lowered again to six in the capital area and eight elsewhere in the country as of last week.

The abrupt change comes as South Korea has seen a surge in coronavirus infections, along with the number of critical cases and Covid-19 deaths.

Daily case numbers have been approaching the 8,000s, while fatalities hit an all-time high of 94 on Tuesday.

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