DAEGU, June 03 (Yonhap) – Daegu, a southeastern city hit hard by massive coronavirus outbreaks during the first wave of the pandemic last year, will increase its social distancing measures a notch at the level 2 this weekend to deal with the increase in local transmissions of COVID-19 and its variants, the city government said Thursday.
The level 2 program, the third highest in the country’s five-tier COVID-19 alert system, will go into effect Friday at midnight and last until June 20, the government said, noting that the hours of operation facilities used by the general public will be reduced. and collection limits will be imposed under the new rules.
The city had improved its social distancing position to Level 2 on December 8 last year before lowering it to level 1.5 on February 15. City officials have said the planned return to Level 2 is inevitable due to a recent spike in cluster infections and the rapid spread of coronavirus variants.
Between February and March last year, Daegu reported the country’s first major outbreak of COVID-19 linked to a minor religious sect, reporting around 7,500 confirmed cases and around 200 deaths for the year.
The city of 2.43 million people reported 74 more cases on Thursday, bringing its cumulative number of cases to 10,071. The daily number of infections had been below 50 over the past month. Thursday’s tally is the highest daily figure since March 19 of last year, officials said, adding 19 of them were linked to an entertainment bar.
Cluster infections have also been reported in religious establishments and workplaces, and cases of viral variants are also on the rise, prompting quarantine officials to warn of a new wave of the pandemic in the near future.
“Recently, about half of the confirmed cases in Daegu have a variant virus. Studies show that the mutated viruses have high transmission power and are more toxic than existing viruses,” said a doctor at the university medical center. by Yeungnam.
He then suggested that the vaccination rate be sharply increased, as current COVID-19 vaccines are found to be effective against most variant viruses.
According to city officials, restaurants and cafes in Daegu will be forced to close from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day below level 2. Gatherings and events involving 100 or more people will in principle be prohibited. National and public facilities will not be able to accept more than 30% of their full capacity, while sporting events will be allowed to operate at 10% of their capacity.