Officials Tighten Restrictions In Seoul Amid Another Wave Of COVID-19 Infections



SEOUL, South Korea — Despite early successes last year in controlling the pandemic, South Korea on Friday announced it would raise restrictions in the capital region to the highest level as a fourth wave of infections is gaining speed.

The country recorded 1,316 cases Friday, breaking records for a second straight day. That’s not high by international standards, but health authorities say the peak of this fourth wave of infections is likely yet to come, and barring effective countermeasures, could see case numbers nearly double.

Driving the surge are residents of the greater Seoul region, accounting for four-fifths of cases, and people in their 20s and 30s, who made up 43% of confirmed cases on Thursday. Many of them frequent the capital’s eateries and night spots, and most are unvaccinated.

But to some extent, the young consumers were just taking their cues from the government’s muddled messaging, authorities say.

The government was trying to “strike a balance between recovery of everyday life and prevention of outbreaks,” Sohn Young-rae, a spokesperson for the health ministry, told reporters on Wednesday.


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