The government had imposed the Level 2 guidelines of the three-tier system only in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province from August 16, but it chose to expand it to the whole country amid the recent surge in virus infections.
South Korea reported 332 more cases on Saturday, raising the combined number of infections to 17,002. Schools in areas that reported cluster infections will switch to remote learning starting Wednesday.
School attendance will be limited to one-third of capacity in kindergartens, primary and middle schools.
In Seoul, which has already entered Level Two, street rallies of 10 or more people are banned, which is equivalent to a Level Three measure. Compulsory measures in the Level 2 system will only be recommendations without enforcement for North Gyeongsang and Gangwon, given their slow spread of the virus.
The country suffered its first mass outbreak in February and March as more than 5,000 cases were identified in the southeastern region in relation to the fringe religious sect of Shincheonji.
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The government adopted the level-2 guidelines of the three-tier system only in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province from August 16, but it made a decision to expand it to the whole country amid the recent surge in virus infections. "Outside of the Seoul-metro area, daily infections have surpassed 70 from around ten, and the spread is getting larger and faster". She urged people to refrain from nonessential visits over the weekend.
As of Thursday, South Korea reported 16,346 cases of the coronavirus, with 307 deaths.
"In these areas, every in-person assembly, meeting and event which brings together at least 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors will be banned in principle".
Only essential public and corporate activities are allowed, and companies are advised to mandate remote working.
The government on Saturday chose to expand the stricter social distancing measures previously applied to the Seoul-metropolitan region. "The public needs to effectively respond to the rising risks".
"We are now in a very risky situation that could trigger a massive nationwide spread of COVID-19", Park said.