South Korea eases restrictions as coronavirus cases drop to lowest levels in a month

Coronavirus

People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus visit the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported its lowest daily virus tally in about a month as it began easing its tough social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday that the 109 new cases added in the past 24 hours took the country’s total to 22,285 with 363 deaths.

It’s the 12th consecutive day for South Korea’s daily jump to stay in the 100s. The 109 additional cases are also the lowest daily tally since mid-August.

The government on Sunday relaxed its physical distancing guidelines in the Seoul metropolitan area, citing a downward trend in new infections and worries about public livelihoods.

Under new distancing rules that are formally effective from Monday for two-weeks, franchise cafes and bakeries are allowed to have customers drink and eat inside their shops while indoor gyms and after-school academics can reopen. A ban on dining at restaurants after 9 p.m. was also lifted.

These facilities are still required to impose some distancing rules like having visitors sit at least one seat apart from each other or wear masks.

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