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S.Korea: Amid jump in Covid cases, Moon warns against complacency

Seoul, Nov 21 (IANS) President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday that he is worried about a recent jump in new Covid-19 cases as the nation eased some social-distancing rules and urged people to strictly comply with containment rules despite higher vaccination rates.

"The number of confirmed patients is on the increase as vaccination rates rise. Containment rules, including mask wearing, must be followed," Yonhap news agency quoted Moon as saying during a nationally televised town hall meeting.

The nation's new coronavirus cases stayed above 3,000 for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday amid concerns over the full-fledged reopening of schools and a virus resurgence ahead of winter.

Daily cases have not shown signs of slowing down in recent weeks, as the country began easing virus curbs on November 1 in the first of the three-phase "living with Covid-19" scheme for a gradual return to normalcy.

The recent virus resurgence has spawned concerns over the onset of winter, especially ahead of a full opening of in-person classes at schools this week.

Moon said the rise in daily Covid-19 cases has been widely expected as health authorities eased some containment rules, but voiced worry about a shortage of beds in hospital intensive care units, with the number of critically-ill patients rising at a faster pace.

Moon said health authorities will help hospitals cope with patients in serious or critical conditions by supplying enough hospital beds.