South Korea to extend distancing rules in Seoul area

  South Korea says it will extend the toughest distancing rules imposed on the greater Seoul area for another two weeks as it's battling its worst coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea on Friday reported 1,630 new virus cases, marking a 17th straight day its daily caseload is above 1,000. About 70 per cent of the recent cases have been detected in the Seoul area, where about half of South Korea's 52 million people reside.

Interior and Safety Minister Jeon Hae-cheol says it's inevitable that social gatherings and travel are restricted to suppress a widespread domestic outbreak linked to a variety of sources in daily lives.

The current government-imposed rules ban gatherings of three or more people after 6 pm and require high-risk facilities such as nightclubs to suspend operations. Weddings and funerals can be attended by only relatives, but capped at 49 people. Those rules were to expire on Sunday, but Jeon says they''ll be implemented for two more weeks.

South Korea's total caseload stands at 185,733 with 2,066 deaths from COVID-19.

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