A total of 797 Covid-19 cases were confirmed as 12 a.m. on Friday. The number has been increasing slowly but steadily and has hit almost 800. It is the highest in 106 days since the number hit 869 cases on January 7 when the nation was experiencing the third wave.
As the number of confirmed cases has shot up amid a vaccination rate far lower than other major countries including the U.S., there is growing public concern. The government singled out the public’s negligence about quarantine efforts as the reason for the surge. “The number of quarantine rule violations increased more than six times from October last year,” Hong Nam-ki, acting prime minister, told a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on Friday.
The average daily number of confirmed cases amounted to 640 this week. The number far exceeds the threshold number for social distancing level 2.5 (400 to 500 confirmed cases nationwide). The government has decided to beef up preemptive Covid-19 testing rather than strengthening social distancing measures. The government issued conditional approval of Covid-19 self-test kits, whose use has been controversial previously, on the day. It is the first time that personal Covid-19 test kits have been approved by the regulatory authority. People will be able to purchase them at drugstores, discount stores or online shopping malls as early as one week from now.
The government also decided to implement from Monday a revised social distancing measure in certain parts of the North Gyeongsang Province where the number of confirmed cases remain low. The measure calls for reducing the maximum number of people allowed for private gathering from five and more to eight or under.
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