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S. Korea reports 661 new COVID-19 cases on Friday; extends current social distancing guidelines by 3 more weeks Updated: 2021-04-30 16:45:53 KST

South Korea reported 661 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the second day in a row that the figure stayed in the six hundreds.
All but 19 of those cases were locally transmitted, with over 380 coming from Seoul and the surrounding area.
Outside the capital area, Ulsan accounted for 60 new cases after a cluster infection at a bar in the city.
Smaller clusters across Seoul and Gyeonggi-do Province added to Friday's tally while an outbreak at a nursing home for the elderly in Daejeon resulted in eighteen new patients.
Despite warnings of strengthened prevention measures should the daily average hit the eight hundreds, the Central Disaster Management Headquarters said better days lie ahead.

"If there are fewer than one-thousand cases a day by late June and more senior citizens get vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 will further decrease. Once this goal is achieved, we will restructure the distancing measures in July and ease guidelines like the ban on private meetings and restricted operating hours."

The restructured system features not five, but four tiers of social distancing, with level four being the strictest. Under Level 2 of the revamped system, up to eight people will be allowed for private gatherings.
And up to four people will be allowed at Level 3.
The government also plans to relax regulations at nursing homes and gradually allow face-to-face visits.
But for now, Korea has decided to extend the social distancing measures currently in place, AND the ban on private gatherings of five or more people, by another three weeks.
Restaurants and cafes in the capital area, like before, are to close at 10 PM.
However, the ban on civil servants dining together and holding gatherings will end on Sunday.
The other special measures for the public sector encouraging working from home and flexible business hours will continue until May 9th.

"Along with the number of confirmed cases, sufficient numbers of hospital beds, thanks to the expansion of medical capacity and pre-emptive testing, were taken into account."

South Korea's total number of COVID-19 cases has now surpassed 122-thousand.
The virus has claimed 3 more lives, raising the national death toll to one,828.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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