Social distancing signs on a restaurant street in Seoul. AP
Gulf Today Report
Seoul, capital of South Korea imposed fresh restrictions on Tuesday following the surge in coronavirus cases.
The new social distancing rules has dealt a huge blow on small businesses outweighing the optimism for economic revival.
"I feel like I've been left alone in the dark," said Jung Gong-dan, a business owner near the capital's Itaewon district, saying she has lost hope after a ban on dining in restaurants after 9 p.m.
South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy grew in the third quarter due to the stimulus injected into the economy and major trading partners easing virus curbs.
However, the financial growth isn’t reflecting in the real economy as entrepreneurs were forced to lock up again.
"I'm planning to launch a takeout drink sale with discounts, which is the only way to head off a cash crunch, given revenue drops throughout the year," said a bar owner, who runs two stores in downtown Seoul.
As residents ease into the new restrictions, the hustle and bustle of the streets of Seoul were missing on Monday.
According to Jung, a business owner, lack of government aid might force a lot to shut down permanently following the losses suffered at the beginning of the year.
"I hope the government will provide practical measures to help us because constantly suspending night operations virtually means no business," she added.
The government is yet to announce stimulus plans but the opposition party called on diversion of money from 2021’s budget to help the pandemic hit the economy.
Health authorities have warned the current wave of infections might be harder to limit than before, as most occur in the wider general community around Seoul.
South Korea has recorded 31, 353 cases, 510 have passed away.
More than 570 people have been infected with the coronavirus across China and Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, has been placed under effective quarantine.
Tackling the coronavirus, COVID-19, has become a Herculean task around the globe. Its relentless expansion across several countries leaves much cause for worry.
South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced additional 161 cases and 2 deaths on Monday, bringing the toll to 763 that puts the country third in the list of COVID-19 infected hotspots.
The virus has now infected more than 88,000 people and spread to over 60 countries after first emerging in China late last year. South Korea, the biggest nest of infections outside China, reported nearly 500 new cases on Monday, bringing its total past 4,000.
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