Korea to remove mask mandate on public transportation from Monday

2023.03.16 11:04:01 | 2023.03.16 11:07:01

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

South Korea will lift the mask mandate for public transportation from Monday, ending the requirement after two years and five months, as Covid-19 is on the wane.

“Prevention conditions are stable and no new mutations have been discovered since we eased the indoor mask mandate on Jan. 30,” said Han Chang-seob, vice minister of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, on Wednesday. “The daily average number of Covid-19 cases fell 37.5 percent and the number of new severe-symptom patients 54.6 percent.”

Under such circumstances, the government decided to remove the mask mandate on public transportation, such as buses, taxis, subways, and airplanes, starting Monday. The requirement had been in place since October 2020.

The government, however, advised the use of masks on public transportation during rush hours and among high-risk groups and those with Covid-19 symptoms.

The mandate will also be removed for large facilities like big discount stores and open-area pharmacies, such as those located inside the discount stores. Many of the customers there visit the pharmacies to buy general drugs, instead of prescription drugs.

Drugstores, however, located outside the large facilities, as well as hospitals, and care hospitals that are more vulnerable to infections, will still have the mandate.

People infected with Covid-19 will have to continue to stay at home for 7 days. The government plans to announce further easing of rules later this month after advice from experts. It is considering reducing the isolation days for those infected with Covid-19.

Korea, in the meantime, announced that international passenger flights between Korea and China will resume gradually from Monday, more than three years after they were suspended in January 2020 when Korea saw its first positive case of Covid-19.

By Shim Hee-jin, Shin Yoo-geoung, and Chang Iou-chung

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