- Özgür Töre
South Korea decided on Friday to lift all outdoor mask restrictions beginning next week.
The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, who decided that those attending outdoor gatherings of 50 or more people, as well as sporting events and concerts, would not be required to wear masks from Monday, Yonhap News Agency reported.
"We are clearly overcoming a critical moment of a resurgence in COVID-19," Han said.
"Going forward, the government will ease low-risk anti-virus measures one by one after receiving feedback from experts," he added.
Wearing face masks at outdoor events is expected to become “advised,” and people who choose not to will not be fined.
Currently, people are required to wear a mask at outdoor events with 50 or more people and are subject to a fine if they fail to do so. The outdoor face mask mandate was ended on May 2 except for events with 50 or more people, such as concerts and sports games in stadiums.
Masks will remain mandatory indoors for the time being amid possible risks of seasonal flu and a resurgence of coronavirus cases, Han said.
New confirmed infections of Covid-19 in Korea continued to dip, reaching 33,009 on Thursday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).