World

South Korea eases social distancing curbs as cases fall

SEOUL: South Korea will relax some rules on social distancing from today, allowing nightspots to reopen and spectators to attend sports events, after new cases edged lower in recent weeks, the authorities said.

Daily infections have fallen largely into the double-digit range in the past two weeks, down from 440 during outbreaks at a church and a political rally in August that prompted a clampdown.

The relaxation means places of entertainment, such as nightclubs, karaoke bars and buffets can reopen. Audiences of up to 30 per cent of stadium capacity will be allowed at sports matches, as long as they comply with anti-virus guidelines.

High-risk activities such as door-to-door sales businesses and small religious gatherings remain banned, with new limits on guests and spacing at nightspots and indoor sport venues in the Seoul area.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo warned against complacency, saying the country still faced the dangers of what he called a "twindemic" of the virus and a winter seasonal flu.

South Korea reported 58 cases by midnight on Saturday, taking total infections to 24,606, with 432 deaths. - REUTERS

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