South Korea bans gatherings of five or more to limit virus spread

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South Korea on Tuesday announced a nationwide ban on private gatherings of five people or more over the upcoming Christmas and New Year holiday.

The rule will come into force on Thursday and stay in place until Jan. 3, 2021, Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun said, as cited by Yonhap news agency.

Ski slopes and other winter sports facilities will also be closed during that time.

The move extends a ban already planned for the capital Seoul and nearby areas from Wednesday.

South Korea hopes to curb the third wave of coronavirus after the country saw a surge last week, with five consecutive days of confirmed cases over 1,000.

Monday and Tuesday marked a decline in cases, at 926 and 869 respectively, but authorities noted this could be due to fewer tests being carried out over the weekend.

The country of 52 million people was widely praised for its virus response earlier this year and has so far avoided a large-scale lockdown.

The country’s total caseload now stands at 51,460 while 722 people have died.



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