South Korea plans to drop indoor mask mandate

Seoul, Jan 20 (EFE).- South Korea plans to drop its last remaining Covid-19 restriction of indoor mask wearing in almost all places, the government announced Friday as case numbers continued to drop.

“The government will discuss and confirm the plan to ease the indoor mask mandate starting Jan. 30, with the exception of some facilities,” South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Friday, according to Yonhap news agency.

Face masks will only continue to be mandatory in hospitals, pharmacies and on public transport.

The government had earlier considered approving this measure if two of four criteria were met – a downward trend in new infections, a drop in critically ill cases and deaths, strong medical response capabilities and a high vaccination rate among high-risk groups.

Han said three of the four criteria – all except the high-risk group vaccination rate – had been met.

“The importance of vaccination has grown with the easing of the mask mandate,” Han said. “I strongly advise high-risk people aged 60 or older and the elderly residing in high-risk facilities to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

He also asked local authorities to remain vigilant against a temporary increase in infections after the Lunar New Year holidays.

South Korea, which continues to count Covid infections, currently reports between 30,000-40,000 cases per day.

The country of 51 million people has totaled 29.9 million infections since the start of the pandemic and just over 33,000 deaths, with a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. EFE


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