Music at South Korean gyms has been restricted in a new campaign designed to control the nation’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, sparked by the highly contagious Delta variant.
- South Korea’s government has introduced a raft of new measures to slow COVID-19’s spread
- The new rules require gym-goers to only listen to slow music
- Health officials says the new rules prevent people from breathing too fast or splashing sweat
Under new rules, the music in gyms cannot be faster than 120 beats per minute (BPM) during group exercises.
Health officials said the new measures were necessary for businesses to remain open and prevent people from breathing too fast or splashing sweat.
The new rules also limit treadmill speeds to a maximum of 6kph, ban the use of showers at gyms, and restrict table tennis matches to two people per table.
Opposition member of the People Power Party, Kim Yong-tae, said the new restrictions appeared to be ineffective and unrealistic to maintain.
“So you don’t get COVID-19 if you walk slower than 6km per hour,” Kim Yong-tae said.
“And who on earth checks the BPM of the songs when you work out?
Gym owner Kang Hyun-ku also questioned the government’s new rules.
“My biggest question is whether playing classical music or BTS songs has proven to have any impact on spreading the virus,” the gym owner said.
“Many people use their own earphones and wearable devices these days, and how do you control their playlists?”
Gym-goer Whang Myung-sug said the government had applied a double standard in applying restrictions to gyms.
South Korea’s daily new case total has topped over 1,000 for seven consecutive days, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The nation has recorded a total of 170,296 cases and 2,048 deaths.
The government has imposed its highest level of COVID-19 restrictions to combat its worst-ever COVID-19 outbreak.
President Moon Jae-in said he felt heavy-hearted when thinking of business owners and others burdened by the rules.
“I can’t help but feel very sorry to once again ask the citizens for a bit more patience,” he said at a special COVID-19 response meeting.
However, the latest clusters have had fewer serious infections than previous ones, with many older and more vulnerable South Koreans now vaccinated against the virus.
About 11.6 per cent of the country’s 52 million-strong population is completely vaccinated, while 30.4 per cent have received at least one dose, according to the KDCA.
Mass testing has also helped the country suffer lower COVID-19 death rates than other developed countries.