South Korea’s daily increase in coronavirus infections has exceeded 1,000 for the 62nd consecutive day as officials are raising concerns about another viral spike during this month’s Chuseok holidays, the Korean version of Thanksgiving.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said more than 940 of the 1,375 new cases reported Monday were from Seoul and the nearby metropolitan region, where a rise in infections have been linked to the reopening of schools and people returning from summer vacations.
While the virus has slowed outside the capital area in recent weeks, KDCA official Kim Ki-nam said transmissions could worsen nationwide during the Chuseok break, which starts on Sept. 20, a time when millions usually travel across the country to meet relatives.
Officials are enforcing the country’s strongest social distancing rules short of a lockdown in the greater capital area, where private social gatherings of three or more people are banned after 6 p.m. unless participants are fully vaccinated.
A slow vaccine rollout has left less than 35% of South Koreans fully vaccinated as of Monday. Kim said the country hopes to accelerate injections over the next few weeks so that 70% of a population of more than 51 million is vaccinated by the end of October.