South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in warned that COVID restrictions might be raised to the highest level after the second day of record increases in cases as the country battles a harsh third wave of infection, Reuters reports.
Moon urged vigilance and called for an all-out effort to contain the virus.
Unless the outbreak can be contained now, it has come to the critical point of considering escalating social-distancing measures to the third level, he said, referring to the tightest curbs under the country’s five-tier system.
Greater Seoul, home to about half of South Korea’s 52 million people, is under level 2.5 restrictions. Gatherings of more than 50 people are banned, and restaurants are prohibited from serving customers after 9 p.m.
A country with initial success controlling COVID-19, South Korea reported 1,030 new coronavirus infections on Dec. 13 after 950 the previous day, bringing total infections to 42,766 with 580 deaths.
Of the new cases, 1,002 were locally transmitted, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
Level 3 curbs would essentially mean a lockdown for the first time in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Schools would switch to remote learning, and companies could allow only essential workers in offices, and gatherings of more than ten people would be banned.