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S. Korea extends social distancing rules for three weeks, social gathering cap increased to six people Updated: 2022-01-14 17:01:25 KST

South Korea has relaxed the current social distancing guidelines to a certain extent.
The country's Prime Minister announced on Friday that the current capacity for social gatherings will be increased from the current four, to six people.
The government has taken into account the growing backlash over the current, stricter antivirus restrictions.
However, business operation hours will still be limited to 9 PM.
The decision comes as authorities continue to be cautious over the nation's current virus situation.

"The number of infections is no longer declining since this week. The Lunar New Year holiday is also coming up in two weeks, which is when people will travel a lot. The Omicron variant has also begun to spread rapidly since last week. On Wednesday, Omicron infections accounted for 20-percent of the total infections. It is closer to becoming the dominant strain."

The new measures will take effect for three weeks starting next Monday, until February 6th.
This means the rule will be in place during Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year holiday period as well.
And the Prime Minister has advised citizens to maintain social distancing as much as possible during the holiday.

Meanwhile, South Korea on Friday reported 4-thousand 5-hundred 42 new COVID-19 cases.
This is up by more than 8-hundred cases compared to last week.
The number of severely-ill patients has also dropped to around 6-hundred 50, going below the 7-hundred mark for the first time in 45 days.
However, the number of imported cases has again hit a record-high on Friday,.. with 4-hundred 9 cases.
Officials are also expecting to see a resurgence in cases with Omicron likely to account for more than 50-percent of infections by next Friday.
The number of daily infections is also forecast to hit the 30-thousand mark by the end of February.
Officials have announced plans to shorten the self-quarantine period from the current 10 days to 7,.. and expand the use of antigen tests, once Omicron becomes the dominant strain and causes an uptick in cases.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.
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