Outdoor mask mandate ends Monday
Korea will lift its outdoor mask mandate Monday, although masks will be still be required in sports stadiums or at outdoor events with more than 49 people.
“We couldn’t ignore the inconvenience people experience from wearing a mask even when they walk alone outside or go on a picnic with their family,” said Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum at a Covid-19 response meeting Friday.
He cited countries that lifted mask mandates right after peaks of the Omicron wave and didn’t experience major hikes in infections afterwards, such as France, New Zealand and Singapore.
Korea hit its daily infection peak of 621,328 on March 17, and the number has been gradually dropping, reaching 50,568 new cases on Friday.
“Quarantine measures that were part of our lives are going away one by one,” said Kim.
Korea saw 50,568 infections on Friday, down from 57,464 on Thursday. The number of critically ill is on the decline as well, at 526 on Friday compared to 552 on Thursday. The number of deaths was 136 Friday, up slightly from 122 on Thursday.
Previously, a Covid-19 Emergency Task Force run by President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's transition team suggested the outdoor mask rule could be lifted at the end of May. Yoon’s transition team has repeatedly expressed worries about dropping the outdoor mask mandate.