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Coronavirus digest: South Korea tightens rules ahead of national holiday

  • September 20, 2020

South Korean authorities on Sunday extended COVID-19 social distancing measures for a week, limiting indoor social gatherings to below 50 people and outdoor to less than 100.

The government plans to further tighten rules for the Chuseok holiday, when people traditionally reunite with families. Social distancing policies for the September 30-Oct 2 holiday will be announced in coming days.

Read more: South Korea’s soaring suicide, self-harm rates pinned on pandemic

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the level 2 restrictions need to be kept ahead of Chuseok as “cases with untraceable origins are steadily increasing and fewer tests being carried out on weekends means we should be on high alert.”

The East Asian country registered 82 new coronavirus cased on Saturday, the lowest daily tally since mid-August, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Sunday, South Korea has recorded nearly 23,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 383 deaths.


Germany: Thousands of people are set to take to the streets in the Germany city of Düsseldorf to protest against coronavirus measures. The Sunday rally is organized by a regional group of the Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) initiative that previously held major demonstrations in Berlin. The organizers hope for at least 50,000 participants in the rally.

Authorities, who expect at least 10,000 coronavirus skeptics to attend the demo, have beefed up security in the northern city.

Counter-demonstrations will also be held in the city on Sunday, including one by a local initiative, Düsseldorf Blocks.

According to government rules, the participants do not have to wear masks but must keep a minimum social distance of 1.5 meters from one another.

Britain: The British government will impose a £10,000 (€10,909, $13,000) fine on people who refuse to self-isolate if tested positive for coronavirus. The rule will come into effect on September 28.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Health Minister Matt Hancock said the country was at a tipping point on COVID-19, warning that a second national lockdown could be enforces if people don’t follow government rules designed to contain the coronavirus spread.

Read more: Coronavirus: Drunk people cannot social distance, warns UK police chief

Cases have risen sharply in recent weeks to more than 4,000 per day, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling it a “second wave.”

“The nation faces a tipping point and we have a choice,” Hancock told Sky News. “The choice is either that everybody follows the rules … or we will have to take more measures.”

Hancock said a second national lockdown was possible option. “I don’t rule it out, I don’t want to see it,” he told the BBC.

Russia: Authorities in Moscow have reported 6,148 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the second straight day when the number exceeded 6,000. So far, Russia has recorded 1,103,339 COVID-19 cases.

According to the country’s coronavirus crisis center, 79 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 19,418 as of Sunday.

Read more: Russia’s Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine trial shows ‘encouraging’ results


India: The South Asian country’s coronavirus infection tally crossed 5.4 million on Sunday, with another 92,605 new cases and 1,113 deaths reported on Saturday. As of Sunday, India has registered 86,752 virus related deaths.

India is among the countries worst hit by the pandemic, behind only the United States.

On Sunday, the country’s current lawmakers decided to cut short the current 14-day parliamentary session amid a worsening health crisis. At least 25 parliamentarians were found positive for COVID-19 during the mandatory testing before the opening of the session, according to NDTV news channel.

Indonesia: Cases have also spiked in Indonesia, which reported 3,989 new infections on Sunday, taking the total tally to 244,676.

The health ministry data also showed 105 new COVID-19 related deaths, taking the total death toll to 9,553, the highest tally in Southeast Asia.

Read more: Indonesia’s false coronavirus ‘cures’ draw concern from scientists

shs/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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