South Korea has ordered most schools in the Seoul metropolitan area to close and switch to online learning as the country battles a new surge of coronavirus cases.
At least 193 students and teachers were found infected over the past two weeks in the Seoul metropolitan region, Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said Tuesday.
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Remote learning for all students, except high school seniors, will last until at least Sept. 11, Yoo said. High school seniors will continue to go to school so their studies are not disrupted ahead of the national college exams.
“The priority is to quickly stem the spread of transmissions and stabilize the situation, if only to hold the Dec. 3 national college entrance exam as planned without disruption,” Yoo said in a news conference.
The announcement comes as the country reported 12 straight days of triple-digit daily increases in COVID-19 cases.
South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 280 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the 12-day total to 3,175. The country’s caseload is now at 17,945, including 310 deaths.
While most of the cases have been in Seoul area, health officials have warned that the recent surge could lead to a nationwide outbreak.
“It would be too hasty to say that the curve has flattened,” KCDC deputy director Kwon Jun-wook told a news briefing, according to Reuters. “There is still a high risk that cases could continue to rise.”
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The country announced other precautions over the weekend, including new bans on large gatherings, with closures for beaches, nightspots and churches, as well as removing fans from professional sporting events.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.