South Korea closes schools after spike in Covid-19 cases, just days after reopening

30 May 2020, 10:03

South Korea has re-closed schools
South Korea has re-closed schools. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

South Korea has closed more than 200 schools just days after they were reopened after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Thousands of students had flocked through school gates on Wednesday after five months of closures due to Covid-19.

Strict social distancing measures had been introduced, along with temperature checks upon entering.

But on Thursday 79 new cases were discovered, the highest daily rate in more than two months, authorities once again shut schools to stop any large-scale outbreak of the virus.

A further 58 cases were identified on Friday, bringing the country's confirmed cases to 11,441 and 269 deaths.

According to the Korea Times, 251 schools in Bucheon have now re-closed, and Seoul has postponed 117 schools re-opening.

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South Korea has seen just over 11,000 confirmed coronavirus cases
South Korea has seen just over 11,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Picture: PA

The majority of the latest cases could have been linked to workers at a massive warehouse operated by Coupang, a local e-commerce giant that has seen orders spike during the crisis.

The company has been criticised for failing to implement proper preventive measures and enforce distance between employees, with the virus discovered on safety helmets, laptops, keyboards and other equipment they share.

One student in Seoul has tested positive for the virus. Her mother works at the warehouse.

The news comes as the government goes ahead with plans to partially reopen some schools in England, despite there being an estimated 8,000 new cases of coronavirus each day.

Other measures are also being relaxed, including the re-opening of non-essential shops.

Boris Johnson is easing lockdown in England, despite being warned it could increase the spread
Boris Johnson is easing lockdown in England, despite being warned it could increase the spread. Picture: PA

Experts from Sage - the scientific group which advises the government - have warned lockdown is being eased too soon, with some saying the decision to relax measures is "political".

Number 10 has conceded that measures are being eased despite scientists saying now is not the time to reduce the risk from the virus as "high".

Boris Johnson had been expected to announce that the risk level from coronavirus was being reduced from 4 to 3 - but this has not been mentioned.

His spokesperson said the risk level remains at 4 - meaning transmission of the virus is “high or rising exponentially” - but at the same time argued it is "coming down".

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