Unmasked people cannot ride taxis, buses or planes across South Korea, and visitors to entertainment facilities like clubs and karaoke bars can only enter after digital verification as the country tightens restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on Monday announced drivers of public transportation such as buses, cabs and trains can deny unmasked passengers starting Tuesday.
The new rule will also apply to plane passengers flying domestically or internationally.
Separately, authorities next month will put into test trial a digital verification system for visitors at night entertainment establishments after several nightclubs in Seoul turned into virus hotspots.
The electronic register would be based on a quick response (QR) code that would include the customer’s name, contact information, store name and time of entry. With the customer’s consent, the personal data would be encrypted and stored for four weeks before automatic deletion.
The government said it decided to implement the QR scanning system to address the shortfalls of handwritten registers, which were prone to false entries or data breaches.
The new system would be compulsory in places including clubs and karaoke bars that have been placed under an administrative order following the latest outbreak. Other facilities can adopt the QR code at their own discretion.
Korea reported 25 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the daily count remaining between 20 and 30 for the past three days, bringing the total to 11,190.
Korea was praised for its success in containing a massive outbreak in late February. Since early this month, however, the country has been battling a fresh surge of cases stemming from Itaewon, a popular nightlife district in Seoul. As of Sunday, the number of cases linked to clubs and bars in Itaewon was 220, with the continued regional spread of the virus giving rise to new infections.
By Ji Hong-goo, Chung Seul-gi and Kim Hyo-jin
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