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Record COVID surge forces South Korea to reverse reopening

Amid growing criticism before election, government renews social distancing rules

A man presents proof of vaccination using a QR code at a Seoul restaurant. (Photo by Kotaro Hosokawa)

SEOUL -- South Korea is grappling with record coronavirus infections weeks after it began reopening its economy, forcing the government on Thursday to announce renewed curbs in order to stem a resurgence of the pandemic.

A total of 7,850 new cases were reported on Wednesday -- the most since the pandemic started -- and a slightly lower 7,622 on Thursday. Criticism against President Moon Jae-in has grown as the virus spreads, and a further increase in infections could sway the presidential race in March.

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