S. Korea plans to lift mask mandate for outdoor events



The Korea Times Co.



The government plans to lift the mask wearing requirement for large outdoor gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts, as early as this week amid a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases, according to officials Thursday. The decision came after an experts’ advisory committee on the government’s infectious disease response policy recommended the lifting of the mask mandate for outdoor gatherings of over 50 people. Currently, people not wearing a mask at such large outdoor events are subject to a fine. In May, the government lifted the outdoor mask mandate for individuals but kept the mask rule for large outdoor group gatherings, such as sporting and concert events, and outdoor rallies. The government plans to announce the decision as early as this week. Rules for indoor mask wearing, however, remain in place for the time being, according to officials. New COVID -19 cases hit 11-week low South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest number in nearly three months for a Thursday count, as the virus wave is slowing down at a steady pace. The country reported 33,009 new COVID-19 infections, including 255 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 24,535,940, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. The latest tally is down by more than 8,200 from the previous day and the lowest for a Thursday figure since 18,494 recorded on July 7. The virus wave, triggered by the spread of an omicron variant, has been waning with a steady decline in the infections after a resurgence in July that later peaked above 180,000 cases in mid-August. “The summer season resurgence continued for about eight weeks, and we’re seeing a declining trend for the past four weeks now after the virus wave passed its peak,” KDCA Commissioner Peck Kyong-ran said in a regular briefing.