Curfew pushed to 10 p.m. as Covid cases top 100,000
Restaurants, bars and cafes will be able to stay open until 10 p.m. starting Saturday, as Korea eased some social distancing measures on the day Covid-19 cases exceeded 100,000 for the first time.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said in a Covid-19 response meeting Friday that the government will maintain most current social distancing measures through March 13 but ease the curfew on bars, restaurants and cafes by one hour.
“Until the Omicron wave passes its peak, the current measures will be kept, but we thought we needed to make some changes to ease any financial troubles small business owners have experienced,” said Kim.
Gyms, private academics, PC rooms and other facilities will continue to have to close at 10 p.m. The six-person cap on private gatherings was also kept.
Although the vaccine pass system remains in place, the digital check-in system based on QR codes or calling a designated number is being discontinued.
Visitors to restaurants, cafes and other facilities will still have to show proof of vaccination.
The vaccine pass system for teenagers is scheduled to go into effect from April 1.
On Friday, Korea reported 109,831 new infections, a record and almost double Monday's 57,177.
Korea had 385 severely ill patients, as of Friday, slightly up from 314 cases on Monday and 278 cases on Feb. 1.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters believes the Omicron outbreak will hit its peak later this month or early next month.
BY LEE SUN-MIN, EO HWAN-HEE [email@example.com]