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The Latest: S Korea extends distancing rules for 2 weeks

People disinfect as a precaution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Aug....
People disinfect as a precaution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. Health officials prepare to tighten distancing restrictions in the greater capital area. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)(Lee Jin-man | AP)
Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 10:46 PM CST
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(AP) - South Korea is extending stringent distancing rules for two more weeks as authorities seek to suppress a viral resurgence, while confirming its first case of an apparently more contagious coronavirus variant detected in South Africa.

Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said Saturday the second highest level of distancing rules will remain in place for the Seoul region until Jan. 17. He says the third highest level of restrictions will stay in other areas.

The curbs include bans on social gatherings of more than five people and in-person religious services.

The government will require foreigners entering South Korea to submit negative virus test results starting Jan. 8. Officials say the first confirmed case of the South Africa variant is a person who arrived from that country Dec. 26.

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