South Korea will be lifting its indoor mask restrictions for most indoor spaces from Jan. 30, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said, Yonhap News Agency reported.
However, masks will still be required on public transportation and in medical facilities like hospitals and pharmacies.
"The daily number of new infections is continuing to decline and despite concerns over a spike in cases in China, the situation here is under control without major troubles," Han said, according to Reuters.
The South Korean government announced in December that the country would ease its indoor mask mandate if two out of the four criteria they laid out are met.
According to Yonhap, the four criteria are 1) a declining trend in Covid-19 infections; 2) a decrease in severe cases and deaths; 3) stable medical response capabilities, and 4) a high vaccination rate among vulnerable groups.
Han said among the four criteria, only the fourth has not been met, as he urged the elderly to get vaccinated.
Wearing masks still "highly recommended"
The commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Jee Young-mee, said that wearing masks would remain "highly recommended" despite the lifting of the mandate, The Korea Herald reported.
“In crowded places or places with poor ventilation, you are strongly advised to wear a mask for your own safety and the safety of people who are vulnerable," Jee said.
The lifting of indoor mask-wearing rules is South Korea's latest step in easing Covid-19 restrictions as the country sees a decline in daily infection cases.
According to Yonhap, it is also the country's last remaining Covid-19 restriction.
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