South Korean govt to ease mask, social distancing regulations next month
As the number of new COVID-19 cases decreases, the government is actively considering easing distancing regulations. In addition to lifting the outdoor mask mandate, it is expected that lifting indoor masks for infants and children, the abolition of PCR tests after entering the country, and the resumption of visits to nursing hospitals will be carried out sequentially.
Park Hye-Kyung, head of the Quarantine Support Team of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a regular briefing on the 20th, "The re-infection of BA.5 variant has passed its peak, and the infection reproduction index is also being stabilized. We are also considering lifting the mask mandate."
She added, "Wearing a mask is the most basic quarantine measure for respiratory infectious diseases, and the government and committee members agree that it is necessary to lift the mask mandate step-by-step from areas with low risk of infection."
The government is first considering completely lifting the outdoor mask mandate. On May 2, the government lifted the outdoor mask mandatory but continued to wear masks at events where more than 50 people gather.
Regarding this, Park said, "The outdoor area has a relatively low risk of infection, so we will first consider it for lifting the mask mandate."
It is expected that the outdoor mask mandate will be completely lifted as early as this month or October at the latest. In short, it will be possible to watch outdoor sports games such as baseball and soccer and attend outdoor concerts without wearing a mask.
Furthermore, discussions to lift the indoor mask mandate are underway. In particular, the indoor mask mandate for infants is likely to be first lifted.