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(3.22.) Stronger Social Distancing for 15 Days, Starting with the Government!

  • Date : 2020-03-22
  • Hit : 4324

Stronger Social Distancing for 15 Days, Starting with the Government!

- Regular Briefing of Central Disaster and
Safety Countermeasures Headquarters on COVID-19 -

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held a meeting today presided over by Head Chung Sekyun (Prime Minister) along with the central government and 17 cities and provinces to discuss ▲stronger measures for social distancing, follow-up measures, and action plans, and ▲the current status regarding supply and demand of masks at a video conference room in Government Complex Seoul.


□ Head Chung, at the meeting, requested the local governments to do their best to achieve good results from stricter social distancing for 15 days.

Pan-government support plan for 15-day stronger social distancing

to move towards “infection prevention and control in daily life”

󰊱 [Why stronger social distancing is needed now?]

There is a need to block COVID-19 spread as much as possible and reduce the number of the confirmed cases to the extent that Korea’s healthcare system can deal with through stronger social distancing within a short period of time.

There is a need to move towards “infection prevention and control in daily life” which can be well harmonized with everyday life of the public for continuous and sustainable social distancing.

󰊲 [Message to the public] “The public is earnestly requested to stay home and refrain from going out as much as possible for 15 days”

(Public) Delay or cancel nonessential gathering, dining-out, event, travel; Refrain from going out except for buying necessities, visiting a doctor, commuting to/from work

(Employee) Stick to call to actions at workplaces, such as “Go home directly after work; If you feel seek, stay home”.

(Employer) Avoid crowded environment by adopting telework, flex work schedule, or adjusting work start/end times; Create work environment where “if employees are sick, let them stay or return home”.

󰊳 [Pan-government support] “The government supports the public practicing social distancing by taking the lead in providing public support and actively participating in this drive.”

(Support) Implement support measures for small businesses; Develop comprehensive support measures over the long term in case of shifting to infection prevention and control in everyday life

(Public agency) Through “special guideline for service code of public officials”, public agencies should avoid crowded environment and stick to the principle “If employees are sick, let them stay or return home”.

(Disseminating social distancing) By disseminating the guideline for “keeping distance at workplaces”, private companies are also encouraged to follow the principle “If employees feel sick, let them go or return home”.

- Suspend operation of national multi use facilities such as libraries, museums, galleries

(On-site inspection) Comprehensively crack down on facilities and businesses posing relevant risks

1. Stronger measures for social distancing, follow-up measures, and action plans


□ Head Chung Sekyun (Prime Minister) of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters released a public message on March 21 (Sat), calling for active participation of the public in practicing more strengthened social distancing for 15 days to control COVID-19 spread and be shifted towards infection prevention and control in daily life where everyday life and preventative measures are well harmonized.

○ The government also announced that other measures are going to be implemented to suspend the operation of some facilities and businesses, such as religious ones, with high risk of infection during the “social distancing” drive (Mar. 22∼Apr. 5).

- According to this, the Minister of Health and Welfare notified “suspending operation of facilities posing risk of cluster infection” (administrative order) to each local government on March 21 afternoon.

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters urged the public to practice stringent social distancing for 15 days due to following reasons:

○ First, experts suggested that social distancing should be continued as they believed COVID-19 pandemic is going to be prolonged and now is not the time for being complacent considering that sporadic group infection continues to emerge in communities and COVID-19 has become pandemic.

○ Second, given the incubation period of COVID-19 (14 days), intensive social distancing for 15 days enables early detection of infected cases which might be found in communities without secondary infection, and brings natural healing effects, which can lower the current level of risk.

○ Third, when we lower the community infection to the extent that Korea’s current infection control and healthcare system can tolerate through intensive social distancing for 15 days (Mar. 22~Apr.5), it becomes possible to review implementation of “infection prevention and control in daily life” which can harmonize everyday life and economic activities.


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters emphasized that public participation is more important than anything else to make sure the enhanced social distancing is successfully carried out for 15 days to lower the level of risk and move towards sustainable daily infection prevention.

○ In particular, Vice Head 1 Park Neunghoo (Minister of Health and Welfare) of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters pleaded, “the public is strongly asked to refrain from going out and stay home as much as possible for 15 days from today”, urging "the public to learn and adhere to the following guideline for the public".

[Guideline for the Public]

Delay or cancel nonessential gathering, dining-out, event, travel, etc.

* Delay or cancel events or gatherings especially providing meals as many international cases were reported to get infected due to eating together.

In case of fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, muscle pain, etc), take sufficient rest at home and never go to work

Refrain from going out except for buying necessities, visiting a doctor, commuting to/from work

Avoid handshakes and physical contact and keep a 2-meter distance

Follow personal hygiene practices such as hand washing, cough etiquette

Disinfect and ventilate surroundings every day


○ He also added that “with a continuous increase in infection clusters in places of business, it is essential for employers and employees to abide by the following guidelines as much as possible”.

※ Among 91 infection transmissions affecting 1,383 people reported to have 2 or more linked cases within each group facility, 23 group infection took place at workplaces (25.3%) affecting 279 people (20.2%, 12.1 patients by each group infection case) (as of March 20, refer to Annex 4)

[Workplace Guideline for Individuals]

Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and running water

Maintain at least 1~2 m distance with others and avoid physical contact including handshake

Do not use public use facilities such as locker rooms, indoor lounges

Use personal items such as cup, eating utensils

Maintain a distance and avoid sitting face to face while having meals

After work, refrain from making an appointment and directly go to home

[Guideline for Employers]

To avoid crowded work environment, keep longer distance between colleagues, telecommute, use flexible work schedule, or adjust start/end time of work and lunch hours, etc.

Postpone or cancel business trip, and encourage meeting through phone call or videoconferencing

Monitor fever and respiratory symptoms of employees and visitors every day, and make sure those with symptoms do not enter

Keep workplaces clean and manage better work environment. For instance, close commonly used spaces, such as locker rooms, disinfect highly touched surfaces every day, ventilate twice a day, and place supplies needed for hygiene.

Make sure symptomatic people do not go to work and use telecommuting, sick/annual leaves, or temporary closure. Check fever every day during work and in case of those with symptoms are identified, make sure they immediately leave.

□ Meanwhile, to help ease the fatigue of the public by promptly shifting towards infection prevention and control in daily life, the government plans to fully support and encourage public participation during the 15-day enhanced social distancing (Mar. 22∼Apr. 5).

○ If the enhanced social distancing campaign for 15 days is successfully completed and, accordingly, infection prevention and control is shifted to be harmonized in everyday life, the government plans to develop measures to support the public sharing painful burden, and especially small businesses and the self-employed severely affected.

○ Plus, through various supports, products of small businesses and traditional markets plan to be sold online, and small businesses will be provided with promotional support in connection with O2O platform. With online shopping mall exhibitions, small businesses will be provided with support to sell their products through non-face-to-face channels.

□ As the government asked employees and employers to stick to the guidelines, “avoid crowded environment in workplaces” and “after work, go home; if employees feel sick, let them stay or return home”, the public sector pushes a head with following the guidelines by implementing 「special guideline for service code of public officials」.

○ A proper percentage of staff in each department is mandated to telework to the extent it does not disrupt public services, and it becomes mandatory to use flexible work schedule and adjust lunch hours to avoid crowded work environment.

○ If employees have even minor symptoms, such as fever, respiratory symptom, they should not go to work. If any symptom appears in the middle of work, the staff with symptom should immediately leave office so as to practice the guideline “if employee feel sick, let them go home”.

○ In the 「special guideline for service code of public officials」, the following principles and contents will be included: meetings and briefings are preferably conducted through videoconferencing or document, domestic/overseas trips are prohibited in principle, nonessential outings and private gatherings should be delayed or canceled so that public officials can “go home after work”.

- This special guideline will be applied to not only public officials from the central government but officials from local governments and those working at public agencies.

□ To join the efforts into social distancing drive, the government stops operation of training centers and institutes, libraries, swimming pools, and other facilities under the Ministry of Education, facilities affiliated with the Ministry of National Defense, national libraries, museums, galleries, performance agencies under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and public use facilities in side of public rental houses under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Plus, meeting visitors in accommodation facilities, having outside services and field studies in youth detention centers and institutes of forensic psychiatry are also suspended.

○ Aside from this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refrains from overseas business trip and occasions with the diplomatic corps, the Ministry of Justice minimizes movement of inmates, the Ministry of National Defense continues to fully control outing, sleepover, leave of military personnel, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport applies the highest level of infection control system to public transportation and separately assigns seats between passengers to keep a certain distance. As such, the government adopts all possible measures it can take to support stronger social distancing for 15 days and do its best to prevent COVID-19 from further spreading to communities.

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters develops and distributes the 「Distancing Guideline at Workplaces」 to private places of business to encourage them to avoid crowded environment in workplaces and follow the Workplace Guideline for Individuals and the Guideline for Employers.

○ In the distancing guideline, the following contents will be included: general workplaces should create an environment where employees can use telecommuting, flexible work hours, or leaves and those using it should never be disadvantaged; those with symptoms should use telecommuting, annual/sick leaves and never go to work; with fever checking, employees displaying symptoms in the middle of work should immediately leave.

□ In the meantime, the local governments and the central ministries are going to crack down on facilities if they adhere to “operation suspension of facilities susceptible to cluster infections (administrative order)” issued on March 21.

○ Starting from inspection into religious facilities including churches today, the local governments continue to fully inspect religious, some kinds of indoor sports, and entertainment facilities subject to the order for 15 days and issue an order and other measures to prohibit assembly and gathering.

○ Staring from the joint inspection of the Ministry of Interior and Safety and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the central ministries will conduct joint inspection into facilities along with the local governments.

- The Ministry of Interior and Safety reviews actions taken by the local governments on a daily basis.

- The Ministry of Education intensively manages and inspects private cram schools where students and children are packed, and also inspects and supervises facilities students frequently use.

- The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism supervises karaoke rooms, internet cafes nationwide while focusing on indoor sports facilities.

□ Vice Head 1 Park Neunghoo of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters pleaded, “Although all of the public get tired of prolonged COVID-19 risk and social distancing, it is strongly recommended to put extra effort together into joining stricter social distancing campaign for 15 more days".

○ He also expressed his words of appreciation, saying “when COVID-19 spread fast at the center of Daegu and Gyeongbuk, its spread was properly controlled without mandatory prohibition of outing and movement of the public. It was made possible mainly thanks to your effort to practice social distancing and especially matured citizenship shown in Daegu and Gyeongbuk".

○ He stressed that “with the continuous coordinated efforts of the government, the public, and the medial community, we can surely overcome this crisis”.


2. Current status regarding supply and demand of masks

※ In case of any query regarding this information, contact to the following information:

Ministry

Division

Contact Information

Ministry of Economy and Finance

Economic Policy Division

044-215-2710, 2712

Price Policy Division

044-215-2770, 2771

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

Bio-Convergence Industry Division

044-203-4390, 4391

Public Procurement Service

Procurement Planning Division

042-724-7210, 7265

Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

Customer Risk Prevention Policy Division

043-719-1711, 1722

※ All Koreans faced with issues regarding exorbitant prices of or hoarding masks and hand sanitizers are strongly advised to actively report to the authorities through the reporting center (02-2640-5057/5080/5087), customer call center (1372), and MFDS website (www.mfds.go.kr).
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