The South Korean government announced that it might alleviate the current level of social distancing before seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year’s holidays, should the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 fall this week. “Once we can have the faith that the situation has entered a stabilizing phase, we will consider easing the level of quarantine measures before the holidays,” said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun during a Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters meeting on Monday, calling on the self-employed and the owners of small-sized businesses to “have a little more faith in the government and cooperate with us.”
On Sunday, the government announced it will maintain the current levels of social distancing for two weeks in Seoul metropolitan areas (Level 2.5) and non-metropolitan areas (Level 2). But it added that the levels might be adjusted depending on the trajectory of confirmed cases over the next week. “We will consider easing the quarantine measures on multi-use facilities after tallying the number of patients in a week,” said Kang Do-tae, a senior official from the disaster countermeasures agency, in a briefing on Sunday.
The government is also planning to draw up a “sustainable” social distancing plan. “Sustainable quarantine is essential to generate collective immunity,” the prime minister said, stressing the need to come up with a social distancing plan based on autonomy and responsibility.
Offering a detailed explanation as to why direct families have been included for a gathering ban of more than five people, the quarantine authorities called for voluntary cooperation from citizens.
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