Seoul sets dinner limits, closes gyms

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SEOUL, KOREA, REPUBLIC OF – South Korea has reported 299 new cases of the coronavirus as authorities limit dining at restaurants and shut down fitness centers and after-school academies in the greater capital region to slow down the spread of the virus. The 17th consecutive day of triple-digit increase brought the number of national cases to 19,699, including 323 deaths.

Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 209 of the new cases were from the capital Seoul, neighboring Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, an area that had been at the center of a viral resurgence this month. .

Thirty cases were also reported in the southeastern city of Daegu, the epicenter of the previous major outbreak in late February and March.

Churches have become a major source of infections in the Seoul area and elsewhere, with many failing to properly apply masks and allowing worshipers to sing and eat together. Clusters have also appeared in restaurants, schools, retirement homes and apartment buildings.

Health officials have ordered churches and nightclubs to close and redirect more schools to distance learning across the country as infections rise.

For eight days starting on Sunday, restaurants in the Seoul area are only allowed to provide deliveries and take out after 9 p.m. Franchised cafes like Starbucks will only sell take-out drinks and food.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

  • The Australian state of Victoria has recorded 114 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths. The deaths bring the death toll in Victoria to 524 and the Australian total to 611. It follows 94 new cases on Saturday, which was the first day since July 5 when cases had dropped to double digits. Melbourne residents will be subject to an additional two weeks of movement restrictions, including a nighttime curfew. Restrictions in Australia’s second-largest city will expire on September 13, but will be gradually reduced rather than completely removed. Health officials have indicated the recommendations for face masks could remain in place for several months.

  • The Australian government has announced that it will provide personal protective equipment worth AU $ 2 million ($ 1.48 million) to the Indonesian military to help it fight COVID-19. The Royal Australian Air Force will provide surgical gloves, gowns, masks and thermometers as part of the existing defense operation between the neighbors. Current figures from the Indonesian Ministry of Health show 169,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 7,300 deaths.

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