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Asia Today: S. Korean students take exams amid viral spike

Hundreds of thousands of masked students in South Korea, including 35 confirmed COVID-19 patients, took the highly competitive university entrance exam Thursday despite a viral resurgence that forced authorities to toughen social distancing rules.

The Education Ministry said about 493,430 students were taking the one-day exam at about 1,380 sites across the nation. They include hospitals and other medical facilities with the 35 virus patients and hundreds of others placed under self-quarantine.

This year’s exams had been originally scheduled for November but were delayed due to the virus outbreak.

Students wearing face masks wait for the start of the annual college entrance examination amid the coronavirus pandemic at an exam hall in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. South Korean officials are urging people to remain at home if possible and cancel gatherings as about half a million students prepare for a crucial national college exam. (Kim Hong-JiPool Photo via AP)

South Korea on Thursday reported 540 new cases. Last week it reimposed stringent distancing guidelines in the greater Seoul area and other places to try to suppress a spike in new infections.

Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

A student checks the time as others wait for the start of the annual college entrance examination amid the coronavirus pandemic at an exam hall in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. South Korean officials are urging people to remain at home if possible and cancel gatherings as about half a million students prepare for a crucial national college exam. (Kim Hong-JiPool Photo via AP)