Seoul and Sydney will increase COVID-19 measures to combat Delta variant

Published on : Friday, July 9, 2021

The capital of South Korea and Australia’s largest city, Seoul and Sydney said that there would increase their COVID-19 prevention measures to combat growing outbreaks of the Delta variant in both cities.

Seoul will raise its distancing measures to its highest level ever to counter surging COVID-19 numbers, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said that with the Seoul Metropolitan Area to enter distancing level 4 for two weeks starting on Monday.

In South Korea’s four-tier social distancing system, level 4 is the strongest. The Seoul Metropolitan Area, with a population of 25 million people, had been under distancing level 2, which banned gathering of more than four people and dining in restaurants after 10 p.m.

The new COVID-19 measure will ban private gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m., including in restaurants, in addition to current restrictions. Most public events, including exhibitions and rallies will be banned and weddings and funerals may only be attended by family members.

Seoul and surrounding area schools will also transition to online classes from next Wednesday, Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said in a briefing. The schools will stay online until summer break, which begins in one or two weeks for schools, Yoo said.

South Korea reported 1,316 Covid-19 cases on Thursday, its largest single day increase yet, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Out of those, 1,236 of the cases were locally transmitted and 78% of them were found in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, KDCA said. In total, South Korea has reported 165,344 total cases and 2,036 deaths since the pandemic began.

KDCA Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong said on Thursday that the number of Delta variant infections is steadily increasing and there is a possibility that it will become the dominant strain in August.

On the same day, Sydney announced it would strengthen its Covid-19 protection measures, as the spread of the Delta variant gathers pace in the city.

From Friday, people in Sydney can only shop for essentials, are not allowed to exercise in groups of more than two and may not leave a 10-kilometer radius from their homes unless necessary. The lockdown, which began on June 26 will run until at least July 16.

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