South Korea to lift mask-wearing outdoors starting May 2022

No more masks.

Syahindah Ishak | April 29, 2022, 01:06 PM

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South Korea will be lifting its outdoor mask-wearing mandate from May 2022, according to Reuters.

However, mask-wearing is still required at events with 50 people or more, such as at rallies, concerts and at sports stadiums.

Yonhap News also reported that mask-wearing is still encouraged for those who test positive for Covid-19 and those at high risk of infections.

This new development was announced by Prime Minister Kim Boo-Kyum on Apr. 29 during a Covid-19 response meeting.

Cases have gone down in the country

Kim explained, as reported by Yonhap News, that the decision was made after the government decided "not to overlook the people's discomfort and frustration" at having to wear masks while resuming outdoor activities.

In addition, the Covid-19 cases in the country has also seen a gradual decline, prompting the relaxation of more restrictions.

South Korea reported 50,568 new cases on Apr. 29, well below its peak in mid-March at over 600,000.

This is despite the country easing most of its Covid-19 social distancing measures earlier this month.

Decision was met with opposition

The announcement by Kim has also caused a slight controversy as it came about a week ahead of newly elected President Yoon Suk-Yeol's inauguration.

Yoon's team had opposed the decision to lift the mask-wearing mandate, calling the move "premature".

Ahn Cheol-soo, chief of Yoon’s transition team, had also previously said that the incoming government will be the one deciding on the mask mandate by end of May 2022.

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Top image via Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images.