Army to tighten restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19

Entrance to the army training base at Nonsan, South Chungcheong (Yonhap)

The military will step up its own measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in line with government plans to impose tighter controls in the greater Seoul area to combat a new wave of infections, officials said on Saturday.

The Defense Ministry issued new social distancing guidelines for military units on Friday, under which vacations, off-facility activities and visits by foreigners will be further restricted on Monday for two weeks.

Under the new measures, only 10% of the members of a unit will be allowed to go on vacation at the same time. Depending on the approval of general-level commanders, the number can increase by up to 15 percent for soldiers domiciled outside the capital, the ministry said.

Members of the service will be prohibited from traveling out of service, spending the night outside and meeting visitors in principle. But soldiers will be allowed out to areas outside the big capital where no cases of COVID-19 have occurred in the past seven days.

The ministry also ordered military units to cancel or postpone all private meetings, ban non-essential events and travel, and organize religious services online.

Coronavirus cases in the military stood at 1,124 as of 10 a.m., up five from the previous day, the ministry said.

Earlier today, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,378 new cases of COVID-19 across the country, marking the largest daily increase on record for the third day in a row, as the country is struggling with the fourth wave of infections.

On Monday, the government will implement the highest level of social distancing measures in the greater Seoul area for two weeks.

Under Level 4 rules, private gatherings of three or more people will be prohibited after 6 p.m. and in-person classes will be closed. Bars, nightclubs and other nightlife establishments will be closed, while restaurants will be allowed to receive customers until 10 p.m. (Yonhap)

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