South Korea orders closure of nightclubs, karaoke bars amid concern over 4th COVID-19 wave

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun announced the curbs, which take effect on Monday for three weeks

South Korea will reimpose a ban on nightclubs, karaoke bars and other nightly entertainment facilities, authorities said on Friday, after the number of new coronavirus cases surged, fanning fears over a potential fourth wave of outbreaks.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun announced the curbs, which take effect on Monday for three weeks, after daily new case counts climbed to a three-month high in recent days. The current 10 p.m. dining curfew and ban on gatherings of more than four people will be maintained, he said.

“Signs of a fourth wave of epidemics that we had so striven to head off are drawing nearer and becoming stronger,” Mr. Chung told a daily meeting on the pandemic. “We will maintain the current distancing level, but actively reinforce various specific measures depending on the situation.”

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 671 new cases for Thursday, a day after the daily tally hit the highest level since early January, with clusters developing from churches, bars and gyms, mostly in the greater Seoul area.

Total infections rose to 108,269, with 1,764 deaths so far.

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