Work smart, travel alone, eat out fast: South Korea's prescription for coronavirus recovery

By Hyonhee Shin SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea outlined guidelines on Friday for a two-year return to a post-coronavirus normality including flexible working, bookings on public transport and quick restaurant meals in a country that has been a role model in containing COVID-19. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported just six new cases, the lowest number since the Feb. 28 peak of 909 in South Korea, which suffered the first major coronavirus epidemic outside China

Reuters April 25, 2020 00:11:25 IST
Work smart, travel alone, eat out fast: South Korea's prescription for coronavirus recovery

Work smart travel alone eat out fast South Koreas prescription for coronavirus recovery

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea outlined guidelines on Friday for a two-year return to a post-coronavirus normality including flexible working, bookings on public transport and quick restaurant meals in a country that has been a role model in containing COVID-19.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported just six new cases, the lowest number since the Feb. 28 peak of 909 in South Korea, which suffered the first major coronavirus epidemic outside China.

With no new deaths, the toll remained at 240 and authorities hope daily new cases will drop to zero in the coming days after dipping below 10 on Sunday following several days above that level. Total recorded infections are at 10,708 in the country of almost 52 million people.

Widespread testing, intensive contact tracing and tracking apps have enabled South Korea to limit the spread of the virus with social distancing rather than lengthy lockdowns.

Seoul has extended its social distancing policy until May 5, while offering some relief for churches and sport facilities, but urged vigilance as imported cases and smaller clusters continued to emerge.

"Some experts predict COVID-19 will stay for as long as two years, and we have to accept the reality that we can't go back to pre-COVID-19 life during that time," Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing.

"The government is preparing a transition to a sustainable routine distancing scheme with the goal of carrying out regular social and economic activity and preventing COVID-19 infections at the same time," he said.

The guidelines detail a code of conduct in areas including workplaces, transport, restaurants, shopping and sporting fixtures, starting with general rules such as washing hands, maintaining distance and regular temperature checks and disinfection.

Anyone who travelled overseas within the past two weeks should not go to work for some time, and workplaces are strongly recommended to use video conferences, online training, remote work and flexible hours.

Passengers on public transport need to wear a mask and try booking a seat in empty rows, while mobile payments should be used for taxis.

The guidelines urged people to spend minimal time at restaurants and cafes and use individual plates to share food. The owners of the businesses should place seating apart, divided by partitions if possible, and actively promote takeout and delivery services alongside online payment.

Private academies and religious facilities are strongly advised to provide hand sanitisers but no food.

In shopping malls, customers should not test samples and should wait at least 1 metre (39.4 inches) behind others at checkouts, while shop owners should refrain from soliciting for business and holding first-come-first-served events.

South Korea's stock market has bounced back and bond inflows lead Asia, as investors bet on Seoul's handling of the crisis.

Officials say the strategy will only work if people remain wary.

"The biggest sign of danger in our society is becoming careless that the risks of infections are gone," KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong said at a separate briefing.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.