South Korea to lift all social distancing Covid measures except mask-wearing

Limits on gatherings will also be removed.

Matthias Ang | April 16, 2022, 11:31 AM

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Beginning from Apr. 18, South Korea will removed all social distancing measures with the exception of mask-wearing, The Korea Herald reported.

The announcement was made on Friday, Apr. 15, by the country's Prime Minister, Kim Boo-kyum, at a Covid-19 response meeting.

In addition, Covid-19 will be downgraded to a "Class-2" disease which is the same category as tuberculosis and cholera, the Financial Times reported.

This downgrade means that starting from May, those who test positive will no longer be required by law to quarantine.

Diseases in South Korea's "Class-1" category include Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

What are the changes that will occur?

Kim was further quoted by AFP as saying, "The midnight business curfew and a 10-person cap on the size of gatherings will be lifted starting Monday."

A cap of 299 people on large-scale events and rallies will also be lifted, along with the 70 per cent limit on religious gatherings.

From Apr. 25, eating inside cinemas, theatres and religious facilities will also be allowed.

As for mask-wearing, Kim added that maintaining the mandate is "unavoidable" for an extended period of time.

However, officials will assess in two weeks whether the requirement to wear masks outdoors should be lifted, he said.

South Korea's Omicron wave appears to be falling

The move to lift measures follows a fall in the number of Omicron infections in South Korea.

The Financial Times reported that the infection wave peaked in the middle of Mar. with over 600,000 daily cases recorded in the country of 52 million.

On Apr. 15, 125,846 new cases were recorded.

As for Covid-related deaths, South Korea has recorded a total of 20,616 fatalities.

The prime minister said, "Looking at the number of deaths per 1 million population, Korea and Singapore are in the same general range, 10 times lower than the US."

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