Seoul: South Korea’s Health Ministry said on Sunday that it will apply new four-tier social-distancing guidelines next month from the current five-tier scheme in a bid to adopt a more sustainable quarantine campaign.
Under the Level 1 guidelines, applied when the daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is below 500 nationwide and below 250 in the Seoul metropolitan area, no ceiling will be levied on the number of private gatherings if they follow quarantine rules, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Multiuse facilities, including restaurants, cafes and gyms, can operate without any time limit if customers are located at least one metre away from each other, reports Xinhua news agency.
Under the Level 2, introduced when the daily caseload is above 500 nationwide and above 250 in the greater Seoul area, the ban will be imposed on any private gathering of more than nine people.
The indoor operation of the multiuse facilities will be allowed until midnight, with only deliveries and takeout to be permitted after midnight. Entertainment facilities, such as nightclubs, will also be run until midnight.
Beginning July 1, the Seoul metropolitan area is forecast to be placed at the Level 2, with other regions to be under the Level 1 rules.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said the government will permit the gatherings of up to eight people in the greater Seoul area from July 15 after a two-week transition period, during which the gatherings of up to six people will be allowed. Under the Level 3, adopted when the daily caseload is above 1,000 nationwide and above 500 in the greater Seoul area, the ban will be levied on any private gathering of more than five people.
The business hours for the multiuse and entertainment facilities will be shortened to 10:00 p.m. Under the Level 4, applied when the daily caseload is above 2,000 across the country and above 1,000 in the Seoul metropolitan area, any private gathering of more than three people will be restricted after 6 p.m.
The multiuse facilities will be operated until 10 p.m., and the entertainment facilities will be banned from running.
The eased social-distancing guidelines would come amid the ongoing vaccination campaign.
In the latest tally, South Korea reported 429 more cases for the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 151,149. Since the mass vaccination was launched on February 26, the country has administered jabs to a total of 15,012,455 people with 4,046,611 fully vaccinated.
The country has a population of about 51 million people.