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Feb. 23 (UPI) — On March 1, an annual holiday in South Korea commemorating the anti-colonial independence movement, the city of Seoul said it plans to impose restrictions on demonstrations and large gatherings. At an online briefing on COVID-19 on Tuesday, Seoul City official Kim Hyuk said that the measure is needed to prevent outbreaks, Donga Ilbo reported.Kim said the city of Seoul would take all appropriate steps to avoid infections that may occur due to unauthorized gatherings.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, South Korea has recorded lower rates of COVID-19 infections than most other countries, but hundreds of new cases reported daily during the ‘winter wave’ of the epidemic have prompted local authorities to intensify mid-2020 mitigation steps.The announcement by City Hall comes after conservative demonstrators said they were preparing to stage rallies against South Korean President Moon Jae-government, in’s according to the Donga.

South Korean groups are preparing to hold March 1 meetings to call for Moon’s “early resignation” including Our Republican Party, a vocal anti-Moon organization, and other right-wing demonstrators.Conservatives in South Korea have said that Moon struggled to revive an ailing economy and acted late to procure a vaccine for COVID-19. The organizations have also criticized the recruitment of officials later found guilty of bribery by the government.

Seoul is without a mayor until April, when it is expected to hold by-elections. Two candidates for mayor, former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon and former lawmaker Na Kyung-won, participated in a debate on basic income and financial relief policies for newlyweds on Tuesday, KBS said. In the past two decades, South Korea’s marriage and birth rates have decreased.

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