August 25, 2020 11:20
The government is so far shying away from a second lockdown that could cost the economy trillions and lead to even more massive job losses despite the coronavirus resurgence.
Social-distancing rules are being tightened, but there seems to be a feeling at Cheong Wa Dae that another lockdown would be unsustainable. The same feeling prevails in some other countries that have experienced a second wave after lockdown was eased.
President Moon Jae-in said in a meeting with senior secretaries Monday, “We face a life-threatening situation. It is not an easy choice.”
“I urge everyone to pool their strengths so that we do not reach the worst-case scenario,” he added. “If we fail to stop the spread at this stage, we have to raise social distancing to the highest level” including the lockdown of the entire Seoul metropolitan region.
The Korean Society of Infectious Diseases and other health experts are clamoring for a “preemptive response” before Chuseok, the country’s biggest holiday, when millions travel from the capital to their ancestral hometowns in the provinces.
One preventive medicine specialist said, “I understand why the government is being so cautious, but quarantine must succeed if the economy is to succeed.”
Meanwhile, Korea reported another 280 new cases as of Tuesday morning, a slight decrease after nearly 400 per day last week, bringing the cumulative total to 17,945.
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