South Korea bans wearing masks indoors except in transportation and hospitals

South Korea bans wearing masks indoors except in transportation and hospitals

At Seoul, October 29, 2021. In Seoul, Oct. 29, 2021. LEE JIN-MAN / AP

It was one of the last Covid-19 restrictions still in force in the country. Mandatory since October 2020, wearing a mask indoors will no longer be required from Jan. 30, that is, “after the Lunar New Year holiday,” except in public transportation and medical facilities, South Korean authorities said on Friday, Jan. 20 with.

But the goal is that wearing a mask indoors is “recommended,” Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said at a government meeting on the Covid-19 response strategy. Corporate curfews and social distancing measures had long been abolished. However, people who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 will still have to self-isolate for seven days.

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“External risk factors considered sufficiently controllable”

According to the prime minister, this decision was taken in light of the responsiveness that South Korea’s health system considers to be solid, the decrease in the number of severe cases and deaths due to SARS-CoV-2, and the downward trend in new infections.

“External risk factors were also considered manageable enough,” he added, in an apparent reference to Seoul’s recent response to the rise in cases in China. In response to the health restrictions South Korea has imposed on Chinese travelers, Beijing last week announced the lifting of visa waivers for South Korean citizens.

According to official figures, almost 30 million South Koreans have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and more than 33,000 have died from Covid-19. South Korea’s strategy, a country that has tested massively without ever imposing coercive restrictions, was welcomed at the start of the health crisis and quickly established as a role model in the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.

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The world with AFP