S.Korea: Ban on group dining helped curb virus

The number of new daily coronavirus infections in South Korea has been down to around 500 for four straight days. The government attributes the drop to steps such as a ban on group dining.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, or KDCA, says the number of new cases on Wednesday was 524. The daily tally hovered around 500 for four days until Wednesday.

The number had intermittently topped 1,000 until early this month after hitting a high of 1,241 on December 24.

Since December 23, South Korea has banned private gatherings and dining in groups of five or more people.

A KDCA official told a news conference on Thursday that steps including the ban proved effective.

Operators of eateries and drinking establishments that violate the ban face a fine of up to about 2,700 dollars. The maximum fine for guests is about 90 dollars.

The government had said the ban would be in place through January 17. Officials say they will consider whether to extend it, while monitoring the situation.