More than 200 schools in South Korea have been forced to close — barely a few days after they re-opened — due to a dramatic spike in the COVID-19 cases.
The country had recently announced a gradual easing of various restrictions earlier introduced to combat spread of the novel coronavirus — after managing to keep the daily number of cases in single figures for weeks.
On Wednesday, about 2.37 million students returned to their schools after weeks of learning online. But on Thursday, the country recorded 79 fresh cases of the virus — its highest figure in about two months.
According to BBC, most of the fresh cases recorded were linked to a warehouse in the city of Bucheon.
Health officials said the warehouse, run by Coupang, the country’s biggest e-commerce firm, was flouting directives introduced to tackle the virus.
The officials also claimed there were traces of the virus on shoes and clothes of workers found at the facility.
On Friday, South Korea also recorded 58 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 11,402 and 269 deaths, according to worldometers.
Consequently, Korea Times reported that in Bucheon, 251 schools were closed, while 117 in Seoul and 182 in Gumi postponed their reopening.
It added that 838 schools among the total 20,902 nationwide that were supposed to resume their classes on the same day remained closed in cities including Seoul, Bucheon in Gyeonggi Province and Gumi in North Gyeongsang Province, as of Thursday.
Na Myung-joo, chairman of the national association of parents for true education, was quoted as saying that “it will be safe for the rest of the students to conduct remote classes for the time being.”
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