South Korea apologises for rapid spread of virus in Seoul prison

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Seoul, Dec. 31, 2020 South Korea’s Justice Ministry on Thursday apologised for the rapid spread of the Coronavirus among inmates and staff of the Seoul Dongbu prison in the capital.

More than 790 cases have so far been confirmed in the prison, with Deputy Justice Minister Lee Yong Gu putting the spread partially down to a lack of protective measures.

Upwards of 600 prisoners were transferred to other institutions in recent days.

Those who have tested positive are being held separately.

All visits to prisoners across the country have been suspended for the next two weeks, according to Lee.

Lee added that visits from attorneys would also be restricted.

Guards will no longer be allowed to leave the prison grounds and all educational offerings for inmates will also be temporarily suspended.

South Korea has so far got through the pandemic relatively successfully, but is currently experiencing a third wave of infections.

On Wednesday, the authorities registered 967 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country of 52 million to 60,740.

The government has gradually tightened restrictions on public life, though the country has so far managed to avoid a nationwide lockdown.

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