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Coronavirus

South Korea Reports a Steady Rise in COVID-19 Cases

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is reporting a steady rise in cases around the capital as officials push to require entertainment venues to register their customers with smartphone QR codes so they could be easily located when needed.

The 35 new cases of COVID-19 reported Monday include 30 around Seoul. The figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 11,503 cases and 271 deaths.

Officials have reported 238 infections over the past five days, most of them in the Seoul metropolitan area where around half of South Korea’s 51 million people live, causing alarm in a country that had eased up on social distancing and started to send millions of children back to school. Hundreds of infections have been linked to nightspots, restaurants and a massive e-commerce warehouse near Seoul.

From Monday, a designated group of businesses in Seoul, Incheon and Daejeon will begin collecting the personal details of their customers with smartphone QR codes in a trial run before the requirement is expanded nationwide on June 10.

While local governments can enforce the QR codes on “high-risk” facilities such as nightclubs, bars, karaoke rooms, gyms and concert venues, Health Minister Park Neunghoo expressed hope that the technology would be expanded to churches, libraries, hospitals and restaurants.

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