South Korea will revoke mandatory rules mask outdoors starting early next week or next Monday (2/5).
This policy was announced by South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on Friday (29/4), as the country’s latest step to loosen Covid-19 restrictions and learn to coexist with the Omicron variant.
“We concluded that we can no longer turn away from the inconvenience experienced by our community where they have to keep wearing masks even when traveling alone or on picnics with their families,” Kim said during a Covid-19 response meeting.
According to a Reuters report, this policy will come into effect exactly two weeks after South Korea eased a number of Covid-19 restrictions, including curfews on restaurants and other businesses on April 18.
Referring to the easing of the restrictions, the mask-free rule in South Korea is likely to come into effect on May 2.
However, the South Korean government still requires its citizens to wear masks, at events attended by 50 people or more, such as rallies, concerts and sports stadiums.
The number of Covid-19 cases in South Korea has skyrocketed below 100,000 a day, after peaking to more than 620,000 a day in mid-March.
South Korea has largely been successful in limiting deaths and critical cases through widespread vaccination, and has scaled back aggressive tracing efforts, which has allowed the country to mitigate most of the first two years of the pandemic.
Nearly 87 percent of the country’s 52 million population have been fully vaccinated, with 65 percent also having a booster, according to data from the Korea Agency for Disease Control and Prevention.