'Wearing masks is no longer effective'

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'Wearing masks is no longer effective'

Daejeon city government announced its plan to lift the indoor mask mandate, causing controversy as the regulation remains in place nationwide. 
According to health authorities, Daejeon city government sent a document to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) to notify the central government that it will issue an administrative order of its own, lifting the indoor mandatory mask-wearing rule if the government does not do so by Dec. 15. 
The City said that it will lift the rule from Jan. 1.
KDCA is sticking to its stance that it will continue to monitor the ongoing winter wave of the pandemic, and emphasized the importance of a unitary response on public health measures, criticizing the city government.
Currently, the United States and Europe have lifted the indoor mask-wearing mandate completely. In those countries, people are required to wear masks only in certain places such as in hospitals or on public transportation.
The ongoing seventh wave of the pandemic, which started last month, is now subsiding.
The KDCA said it plans to specify plans to ease regulations in an open forum and a discussion with the advisory committee on Dec. 15.
“Let people decide by themselves. Wearing masks is no longer effective and people still keep wearing masks outdoors even with the outdoor mask-wearing mandate lifted.”
“Wearing masks when entering a restaurant, taking it off when having a seat, wearing it again when leaving, taking it off outdoors again. What an absurd situation!”
“Lifting the mandate when influenza is raging? It’s a bit hasty. No need to hurry as people have already got used to wearing masks.”
“The virus is most lethal in winter. Data shows it. It is appropriate to lift the mandate in spring.”
“People take their masks off in restaurants and cafes anyway. But I think we need to wear it in places like supermarkets or banks.”
“Let the Daejeon city government change the rules and then we can see the result.”

BY KIM EUN-SONG, BY HAN HYE-RIM [han.hyerim1@joongang.co.kr]
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