Thu, 28 Jan 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The municipal government of Seoul on Friday announced the plan to further tighten quarantine rules amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in the South Korean capital.

The so-called general facilities in Seoul will have to stop operation after 9:00 p.m. local time for two weeks beginning Saturday.

The facilities include department store, discount outlet, movie theater, internet cafe, study room, private cram school, amusement park and hair salon.

Convenient stores under 300 square meters will be allowed to operate around the clock, while delivery and takeout will be permitted for restaurants.

The operation of public transport will be reduced by 30 percent after 9:00 p.m., one hour earlier than before.

On Nov. 24, the Seoul government issued an order to prevent entertainment facilities, such as nightclubs, from running, while the operation of restaurants, cafes, indoor sports facilities and gyms was banned after 9:00 p.m.

The city-run public facilities, including museum and library, will stop operation around the clock, while half of public servants and employees in public institutions will be allowed to work from home.

The tightened rules came amid the surging number of COVID-19 cases in Seoul. In the latest tally, the daily caseload recorded a new high of 295 cases in the past 24 hours as of Friday, keeping a record-breaking trend for two straight days.

The daily number of confirmed cases in Seoul stayed between 30 and 50 in early November before starting to rise in triple digits from Nov. 18.

South Korea reported 629 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 36,332. It marked the highest daily reading in over nine months since March 2.

The South Korean government already raised its social-distancing guidelines to the third-highest level for the two weeks from Nov. 24 to Dec. 7 in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province.

Under the Level 2 distancing, restaurants are allowed to serve food until 9:00 p.m., with only delivery and takeaway being available afterward. Indoor dining is not allowed in coffee shops and cafes, with only delivery and takeout being permitted.

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