Sports stadiums welcome back some fans — in masks
Fans will once again be able to go out to ballgames and watch Korean professional baseball games in stadiums starting Sunday, the Korean government announced Friday.
“It’s been two months since the baseball season started, and all games have been streamed online,” said Yoon Tae-ho, head of the disease prevention department of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters in a press briefing. “We will be opening the stadiums for in-person watching of games, but with limited seating.”
Only 10 percent of the seats at the stadiums will be available, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters said. All fans will be required to maintain social distance from other spectators and wear a mask at all times.
Professional football games will also be opening their stadiums to a limited number of spectators from Aug. 1. Again, only 10 percent of the seats will be available, the government said.
Professional baseball and football games in Gwangju and South Jeolla regions, however, will not open their stadiums because of recent spikes in cases.
“Local governments of the two areas are practicing heightened social distancing measures due to a rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 infections,” Yoon said.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters outlined a set of recommendations for vacation travel within Korea in the press briefing.
“These are three recommended actions from the government for everyone traveling during vacation in Korea at this time: wear a mask indoors, minimize your time while at restaurants and maintain at least a 1-meter [3.2-foot] distance between yourself and other persons,” Yoon said.
Yoon also announced that 293 Koreans in Iraq, mostly construction workers, were flown home on two government-chartered flights on Friday.
“All of them will be tested and kept quarantined at a separate facility for 14 days regardless of their test results,” Yoon said. "At least 86 of them were showing symptoms by the time they got on the plane."
The government decided to bring the construction workers back to Korea after seeing a continued rise in cases of Covid-19 in Iraq. At least two Korean construction workers died of Covid-19 infections in Iraq in June. Iraq had 102,226 cases and 4,122 deaths due to Covid-19 infections as of Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Korea recorded 41 new cases of Covid-19 infections on Thursday, 28 of which were local cases and 13 imported. Of the local cases, 19 were in Seoul, five in Gyeonggi, two in Busan and two in Gwangju.
A worker at the Central Government Complex in central Seoul tested positive Friday afternoon, the first case of infection among civil servants at the complex.
The worker's mother tested positive on Friday morning. The worker tested positive by the afternoon. The worker, who works for a government committee on individual privacy rights, did not come into work on Thursday or Friday.
All workers for the committee were sent home by Friday afternoon, according to the Central Government Complex.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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