S. Korean gyms set to protest social distancing rules

SEOUL : The number of deaths linked to the coronavirus in South Korea passed 1,000 yesterday, while an increasing number of gym owners said they would reopen in protest against strict social distancing rules.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 28 deaths and 715 cases, for a total of 1,007 deaths and 64,979 cases overall.

President Moon Jae-in told a Cabinet meeting that the country's top goal was to make it out of the "long tunnel of coronavirus" and said the daily numbers appeared to have peaked thanks to residents.

But gym owners like Mr Kim Jae-kang plan to reopen soon in Seoul in defiance of the curbs. Operators and patrons who flout the rules can face up to 3 million won (S$3,600) in fines.

Mr Oh Sung-young, head of South Korea's gym owners association, estimated that his was among 300 gyms that have or planned to reopen. - REUTERS