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South Korea’s infections soar just as Chuseok holidays begin

SEOUL South Korea's Covid-19 cases nearly tripled to 113 yesterday, going into triple digits again just as people began travelling for the Chuseok holidays.

Figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, had remained below 100 for four consecutive days, going down to 38 on Tuesday, the lowest since Aug 11, the Korea Herald reported.

The pandemic and the fear of rising infections has led to South Koreans foregoing some of their most cherished traditions when they celebrate their thanksgiving holiday this week, as the coronavirus forces many to hold virtual services instead of visiting their ancestral sites.

The authorities have urged people to refrain from travel and follow social distancing guidelines during the five-day break, which started yesterday.

Korean media reported that cemeteries and memorial homes greeted fewer visitors than usual on the first day of the holiday, with some offering online services.

Airport authorities say the number of people taking domestic flights will drop by 25 per cent compared with last year.

Media footage showed relatively empty train and bus stations yesterday, although a major Seoul airport's domestic terminal was bustling with travellers.

To be sure, not everyone is following the guidelines against travel. More than 230,000 people are expected to visit the resort island of Jeju this week, compared with 190,000 last year, local authorities said.

Many golf courses and beach resorts along the east coast are fully booked. - REUTERS

WORLD