People wearing face masks to help contain the spread of the coronavirus walk through a park in Goyang, South Korea on Feb.2. Ahn Young-joon / AP
South Korea will maintain its current social distancing through the end of February 14, health officials said on Saturday.
South Korean Deputy Health Minister Kang Do-tae said some adjustments are being made to store opening times due to economic difficulties.
Last week the ministry announced that it would review the easing of restrictions for the upcoming holiday week. Measures in the metropolitan area of Seoul are at the second highest and for the rest of the country at the third highest level.
Kang said previous social distancing rules, including banning 5 or more people from gathering, will remain in effect during the New Year holidays.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Saturday that restaurants, gyms, karaoke rooms and cafes outside the greater Seoul area are allowed to stay open for an additional hour until 10 p.m. local time and stare at next week.
The decision was made because “small business owners have reached their limits” and not because of the Covid-19 situation. This measure would affect 580,000 companies, he said.
South Korea reported 366 local and 27 imported cases on Friday. Five patients died Friday, bringing the national death toll to 1,464.
There have been 70,505 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country.