By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) – South Korea on Monday imposed severe restrictions for the next two weeks to stem the spread of deadly COVID-19 infection.
The new measures come as South Korea witnesses longer weekend holidays on the occasion of three-day Chuseok (Autumn eve) holidays from coming Wednesday to Sunday, Yonhap News Agency reported.
South Korean will also see a three-day break from Oct. 9 to 11 on the occasion of Hangul Day — the Korean Alphabet which marks the invention and the proclamation of Hangul, the alphabet of the Korean language, by the 15th-century Korean monarch Sejong the Great.
The country is expected to witness mass travel during the back-to-back holidays thus raising concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
Urging people to stay home during the holidays, South Korean health authorities imposed new measures under Level-II in the country's three-tier social distancing scheme.
The people will be required to maintain indoor gatherings lower than 50 while outdoor meetings of 100 or more have been prohibited.
Authorities have allowed sports events but without spectators.
Stricter quarantine measures have been imposed on restaurants and theaters in Seoul and the surrounding areas during the holidays.
At least 50 more COVID-19 cases, including 40 local infections, were reported taking the national caseload to 23,661.
The country also reported five COVID-19 deaths raising the death toll to 406. The fatality rate remains at 1.72%.
At least 18 people have died of coronavirus in the past one week — 17 deceased were aged 60 or older, the health authorities said.
South Korea has conducted 2.3 million coronavirus tests since Jan. 3.
Meanwhile, the US Forces Korea (USFK) said Monday that five more of its service members tested positive for the coronavirus.
This brings total cases among the USFK staff to 198.