SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea is imposing stricter social distancing rules in the Seoul metropolitan area to fight the resurgence of the coronavirus, as the country recorded more than 300 new cases for the fifth consecutive day.
Health Minister Park Nyong-ho said on Sunday that authorities had found 62 virus kits in the past two weeks. He said strict distance guidelines in the Seoul region will be in place for two weeks, starting Tuesday.
Under the rules, nightclubs and other high-risk entertainment facilities should be closed, and late-night dining at restaurants will be prohibited. Customers will not be allowed to drink or eat inside cafes, internet cafes or fitness centers, while fans at sporting events will be limited to 10% of the stadium capacity.
South Korea reported 330 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, taking the total number to 30,733, including 505 deaths.
On other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
– The Japanese Ministry of Health said that the daily number of confirmed Coronavirus cases set a record for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday at 2508. Japan has recorded less than 2,000 deaths related to the Coronavirus so far, which has avoided losses in hard-hit countries. But concerns are mounting about a further increase. A wave of criticism from opposition lawmakers and the public has criticized the government for being too slow to stop its “GoTo” tourism campaign, which has encouraged travel and dining at discounts. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Saturday canceled the campaign, but only after many people had already booked travel for the three-day Thanksgiving weekend in Japan. Airports and restaurants were crowded. Some say the government should have offered to pay for cancellation, or ramp up PCR testing instead, if the goal was to keep the economy afloat amid a pandemic.
– India has recorded 45,209 new infections as the festival season increases in the capital and many other parts of the country. At least three states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat – have imposed night curfews in several cities. On Sunday, the Ministry of Health recorded 501 deaths during the past 24 hours, bringing the total deaths to 133,227.
– The states of South Australia and Victoria relaxed restrictions on COVID-19 on Sunday as Australia approaches summer in a better position to combat the virus. Victoria, who was the hardest hit, passed 23 days without a new infection. In response, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews announced a number of changes to restrictions. The outdoor wearing of masks, which was until now mandatory, is no longer required where social distancing is possible. Masks must still be worn indoors and carried around at all times. Home gatherings will be allowed for up to 15 people and up to 50 people can gather outdoors. Up to 150 people are allowed to attend weddings, funerals, or internal religious services. Residents of South Australia emerged from a statewide lockdown at midnight Saturday and are now able to visit bars and restaurants in groups of up to 10 and host gatherings of up to 50 people with social distancing.
Authorities are conducting mass testing and closing schools after China reported three new locally transmitted cases in the past 24 hours – two in Northern Inner Mongolia Province and one in Shanghai. Manchuli, a city in Inner Mongolia, will begin testing all residents on Sunday, the day after the two cases were discovered. The city has suspended classes, closed public spaces, and told residents not to gather for dinner. Local authorities in Shanghai discovered another case on Saturday after 15,416 people were tested in the wake of the recent locally transmitted cases. The city tests all residents of the Pudong New District area. China is already conducting mass testing of up to 3 million residents in the northern city of Tianjin after discovering five cases there last week. The total number of confirmed cases in China is 86,431.
– The authorities in Sri Lanka said that more than 600 cases of Coronavirus were discovered in the country’s crowded prisons, with an increase in infections in the capital and its suburbs. A total of 652 cases were detected in five prisons in the island country, among them 609 prisoners and 43 prison officers. Sri Lankan prisons are extremely crowded, with more than 26,000 inmates crowding into facilities with a total capacity of 10,000. Sri Lanka has experienced a new outbreak of the virus since last month, when two groups – one at a garment factory and the other at a fish market – appeared in the capital, Colombo and its suburbs. There were 16,251 confirmed cases from both groups. The total number of cases in Sri Lanka was 19,971, including 83 deaths.
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