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S. Korea extends social distancing measures ahead of transitioning to new pandemic exit strategy
Updated: 2021-10-15 17:13:30 KST
The health authorities in South Korea have extended the social distancing scheme for another two weeks but with some important changes that will take effect on Monday.
The Seoul area will stay at level four, and other regions at level three.
But in preparation for the new approach of "living with COVID-19," bigger gatherings will be allowed, and some businesses can stay open later.

As for gatherings, in the greater Seoul area, up to eight people can meet, regardless of whether it's before or after 6 PM.
Of the eight, four have to be fully vaccinated.
Outside the capital, that goes up to 10 peopleas long as six are fully vaccinated.

Also outside the capital, restaurants and cafes can open 'til midnight.
But in the Seoul area, that only applies to study cafes, performance halls and movie theaters.
Sports stadiums will also open up in the greater Seoul area indoor venues only at 20 percent capacity, and only for people who are fully vaccinated.
Outdoors stadiums will be allowed to operate at nearly one-third capacity.
As for weddings, a total of 2-hundred-50 people can attend, and there will be no restrictions on food service.
Of the 250 people, at least 49 have to be fully vaccinated.

These measures will be in effect until October 31st.
After that, Korea will adopt a new approach to distancing, basing the rules on the number of deaths and critical cases rather than the overall daily figures.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said he hopes everyone will abide by the rules so that Korea can go ahead with its pandemic exit strategy in November.

"I really hope this will be the last adjustment before we start to gradually return to normal life as promised in November. We have some 15 days left before we start taking steps to do that. This is our last hurdle. We ask everyone to continue cooperating with the measures and get vaccinated."

62.5 percent of the population have now been fully vaccinated., and the country is seeing daily case numbers come down.
On Friday, there were 1-thousand 6-hundred 84 new infections.
It was the seventh day in a row the number of new cases has been under 2-thousand.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.
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