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S. Korea to announce changes to social distancing guidelines on Saturday amid slow decline in new COVID-19 cases Updated: 2021-01-15 15:53:47 KST

South Korea reported 513 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the fourth day in a row the figure has stayed in the 500s.
484 of the new infections were locally transmitted with Seoul and the surrounding area accounting for more than 320 of them.
Cluster infections at nursing homes and religious gatherings continue to add to the nation's total tally now at over 71-thousand.
So far, over 700 cases are being linked to the outbreak at the BTJ Center for All Nations, a missionary facility in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province.
The government has also noticed more cases stemming from individual contact.

"The proportion of infections that can be traced back to contact between individuals has increased from 20 percent to 40 percent. It seems the pattern of how the virus spreads is shifting from cluster infections to individual contact."

Daily numbers have been stable the past few days though and officials are mulling over what changes can be made on the current social distancing guidelines.

"We understand that public health and the livelihoods of many families are on the line so we'll do our best to make the wisest possible decision."

The adjustments, which will come into effect next Monday, are to be announced on Saturday along with special rules for the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays.
Many of the prevention measures in place, like the ban on gatherings of 5 or more people, are expected to be maintained.
Some changes that are being discussed include easing restrictions on indoor sports facilities, allowing people to eat and drink at cafes, and extending restaurant opening hours until 10 PM.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun also warned against groundless gossip surrounding the safety and purpose of vaccinations to begin in the country next month.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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