South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Wednesday (Feb 17) warned against the loosening enforcement of public distancing rules following the number of latest coronavirus cases hit the highest levels in practically 40 days.
The federal government relaxed distancing curbs on Saturday to take effect starting this week, after getting on top of a third wave of COVID-19 outbreaks that peaked at around 1,200 daily cases in late December.
But the quantities shot back up in only three times, topping 600 for the first time in 39 days and nights on Tuesday, after a ban on nighttime entertainment facilities was lifted and a cafe curfew extended by 1 hour to 10pm.
Chung said there were signs of lax self-discipline, singling out nightclubs opening at 5am and persons partying at a resort after the curfew.
"We've eased distancing to greatly help small business owners maintain their livelihoods, never to keep a slack rein on the virus," he advised a televised meeting.
"The third wave is not over, and some experts are even warning in regards to a potential 4th wave in March or April ... now could be never enough time to loosen up."
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 621 cases by midnight on Tuesday, as testing increased following previous week's Lunar New Year holidays. Cases in the previous couple of days ranged from the 300s to the 400s.
Authorities are on high alert as even more cluster attacks could emerge as a result of holiday seasons, during which an incredible number of Koreans travelled in the united states to visit relatives or perhaps tourist sites.
South Korea's total infections grew to 84,946 cases, with 1,538 deaths.