South Korean officials warned Monday that hard-earned progress fighting the coronavirus pandemic could be upset by new infections at bars and leisure spots, highlighting global tensions between governments desperate to maintain social distancing and citizens eager to resume their lives as economic pressure mounts and infections slow in some places.
Some European nations have started tentative moves to ease their shutdowns. Hard-hit Spain, which on Sunday reported its lowest daily growth in infections in three weeks, will allow workers in some nonessential industries to return to factories and construction sites Monday.
South Korea’s caseload has slowed from early March, when it was reporting around 500 new cases a day, but officials have warned of a broader “quiet spread,” pointing to transmissions at locations such as bars that may indicate eased attitudes toward social distancing.
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South Korean Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun said officials were discussing new public guidelines that would allow for people to engage in “certain levels of economic and social activity” while also maintaining distance to slow the spread of the virus.
Social distancing was still on full display for Easter Sunday celebrations around the globe,