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Social distancing rules to be extended for two weeks: PM

Passengers check in at Gimpo Airport in Seoul on Friday.(Yonhap)
Passengers check in at Gimpo Airport in Seoul on Friday.(Yonhap)
The current social distancing rules will be extended for another two weeks, with some easing of the restrictions, officials said Friday.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said Friday, “We would like to take a step closer to daily recovery while reducing the risk of infection by easing quarantine rules centered on those who have been vaccinated.”

Starting next week, up to eight people will be able to gather in the Greater Seoul area at any time, as long as four in the group are fully vaccinated. Greater Seoul -- comprising Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province -- is where the toughest social distancing, Level 4, is in place.

In other regions, where Level 3 distancing rules are in effect, up to 10 people will be allowed to gather as long as six are fully vaccinated.

The government also decided to apply the relaxed distancing measures to all multiuse facilities from next week, beyond restaurants and cafes. This means meetings of up to eight people in the Greater Seoul area and up to 10 people in other areas will be possible at all facilities.

Here is a summary of the new social distancing measures:

■ Cafes, restaurants, multiuse facilities

-- In Greater Seoul, up to eight, including four fully vaccinated, are allowed until 22:00 p.m.

-- In other regions, up to 10, including six fully vaccinated, are allowed until midnight.

■ Reading rooms, study cafes, concert halls, theaters

-- Open until midnight

■ Watching sports games

-- Outdoor sports games: Up to 30 percent of full capacity; all need to be fully vaccinated

-- Indoor sports games: Up to 20 percent of full capacity; all need to be fully vaccinated

■ Wedding ceremony

-- Up to 250 guests, including 201 fully vaccinated

■ Religious facilities

-- In Greater Seoul, up to 10 percent of full capacity or 20 percent when including those fully vaccinated

-- In other regions, up to 20 percent of the full capacity or 30 percent when including those fully vaccinated

Kim still cautioned residents against becoming complacent.

“It is still too early to be relieved as we should watch the repercussions from the Hangeul Day holiday and upcoming autumn foliage season,” Kim said, even as the number of confirmed patients has seen a gradual decline recently since the Chuseok holiday in September.

“As early as next week, 70 percent of the entire population will be inoculated. We hope these will be the last social distancing rules so that we can start a phased recovery of our daily lives in November,” he said.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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