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23 Aug 2020 | 05:13 AM UTC

South Korea: Authorities expand stricter social distancing restrictions nationwide August 23 /update 28

South Korea News Alert

Authorities expand stricter social distancing measures nationwide on August 23; heed official instructions

TIMEFRAME expected from 8/23/2020, 12:00 AM until 10/1/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Seoul). COUNTRY/REGION South Korea

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The South Korean government announced on Saturday, August 22, that stricter social distancing measures would be expanded to the rest of the country from Sunday, August 23, due to an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Authorities announced the implementation of second-tier social distancing rules, the second-highest on a three-tier scale, which prohibits in-person church meetings and close some entertainment venues such as nightclubs, karaoke bars, and cybercafes. Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people and outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 100 people. 

South Korean authorities lifted the ban on travelers arriving from China's Hubei province on Monday, August 10. According to a South Korean health ministry official, the decision to allow travelers arriving from Hubei province to enter the country was based on an absence of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province.

As of Sunday, August 23, there have been 17,002 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea with 309 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider. 


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