S.Korea expected to ease curbs on private gatherings

Seoul, Jan 14 (IANS) South Korea is expected to temporarily ease restrictions on private gatherings starting next week while maintaining curfews on some businesses due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic, government officials said.

South Korea has been under stricter distancing rules, with a four-person cap on private gatherings and 9 p.m. curfews on cafes and restaurants since December 18, 2021, following a resurgence, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The restrictions were originally supposed to end Sunday, but the government decided to partially ease the virus curbs considering both concerns over the fast spread of the omicron variant and mounting complaints against the strict rules.

According to the officials, up to six people will likely be allowed to gather under revised social distancing rules for three weeks from January 17.

The 9 p.m. curfews, however, are expected to remain in place, they added.

Final decisions on those matters will be announced on Friday.

The government reportedly decided to ease private gathering rules but not go as far as to extend business hours based on its finding that the latter can lead to more infections.

The government also considered temporarily lifting the virus curbs during the Lunar New Year holiday that falls from January 31 to February 2, but decided not to as many people travel across the country to visit family during the period.


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