SEOUL (Sputnik) - The Seoul Administrative Court on Friday partially accepted a petition filed by a group of Christian churches to cancel the ban on worship services imposed due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Earlier in July, the authorities introduced the fourth and highest level of social distancing in Seoul, Incheon and the province of Gyeonggi. The measure bans meetings of more than two people after 6 p.m., while religious organisations are allowed to conduct strictly online services.
"The all-out ban on on-site religious events is feared to have the potential to fundamentally infringe upon basic rights because there are religious groups practically unable to provide contactless services due to a lack of material or personnel resources", the court said as quoted by Yonhap News Agency.
According to the court’s decision, religious communities can hold services with 10% attendance, but fewer than 20 people. All parishioners must wear face masks and keep social distance. However, those religious organisations which previously violated sanitary rules are still banned from conducting services with parishioners.
South Korea has so far registered over 175,000 COVID-19 cases and 2,051 deaths caused by the disease.