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South Korean protests fan COVID-19 fears

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SEOUL: South Korea referred to as on unionists to cancel protests on Wednesday (Nov 25) because the nation grapples with a 3rd wave of coronavirus infections, warning any violations of social distancing measures will probably be punished.

The Korean Confederation of Commerce Unions (KCTU) mentioned as much as 200,000 members would go on strike however protests can be restricted to 9 folks in Seoul, the place public gatherings of 10 or extra are banned.

Dozens of union members joined rallies somewhere else that weren’t topic to stricter distancing, together with one within the southeastern metropolis of Changwon which was attended by about 30 folks.

READ: ‘Alone in the dark’ – South Korea’s small businesses reel from new COVID-19 clampdown

“There are nonetheless excessive dangers of infections throughout conferences and actions earlier than and after the protests,” well being ministry spokesman Son Younger-rae advised a briefing.

“It is very important guarantee the liberty of meeting, however following guidelines to guard folks’s lives ought to come first beneath the present state of affairs the place COVID-19 is spreading quickly.”

South Korea has reported round 300 new coronavirus instances every day over the past week, prompting well being officers to reimpose tough social distancing rules on the capital Seoul and surrounding areas.

READ: South Korean supply staff say COVID-19 increase means relentless toil

Union members are protesting over provisions of a Invoice which might ban labourers from occupying sure amenities at workplaces throughout strikes.

The rallies have revived recollections of a significant COVID-19 outbreak following a political protest in August.

“They’ve mentioned they’d adjust to anti-virus pointers however this can be very regarding given the current unfold of COVID-19,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun advised a gathering, vowing strict penalties for any transgressions of social distancing guidelines.

The Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company reported 382 new instances, bringing the entire variety of infections within the nation to 31,735, with 513 deaths.

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