S. Korea resumes tours at Panmunjeom border village

© Kyodo News

South Korea on Tuesday resumed tours of the Panmunjeom border village inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, after they were suspended in early July due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The resumption comes after the South Korean government eased virus curbs in early November as part of its "living with COVID-19" policy, but the country has since seen a surge in daily new cases.

The Unification Ministry has said each tour will consist of fewer people than before, or a total of 20 people, and that participants must either be fully vaccinated or test negative for the virus within three days before the tour date.

The tour capacity could be expanded if the pandemic situation improves.

Panmunjeom tours were earlier suspended in December due to the pandemic. But they resumed in April and continued until early July, according to local media.

The border village is in a buffer zone between South Korea and North Korea and on the Military Demarcation Line between them.

Concerned about the virus's spread, North Korea continues to keep its border with China closed.

South Korea reported 3,032 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Tuesday. About 80 percent of the country's people have been fully vaccinated, according to health authorities.