South Korea lifts most of Covid restrictions citing drop in daily cases

South Korea lifts most of Covid restrictions citing drop in daily cases

Officials will reassess whether to lift the outdoor mask requirement in two weeks, the PM said.

From April 18, most of the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted, the South Korean government announced on Friday as the Omicron variant showed signs of waning in the country.

However, the government said that mask mandates are still compulsory due to the unpredictable nature of the virus.

“Wearing masks is still a very important means to protect ourselves,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a coronavirus response meeting, according to Reuters.

“It is inevitable to maintain the indoor mask mandate for a considerable period of time,” he added.

Officials will reassess whether to lift the outdoor mask requirement in two weeks, the PM said.

The government has also scrapped the midnight curfew on restaurants and other businesses, along with the cap on private gatherings which was set at 10.

South Korea lifts most of Covid restrictions citing drop in daily cases
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From reporting 620,000 infections per day in mid-March to below 100,000 on Thursday, South Korea appears to have weathered its Covid peak, largely driven by the Omicron variant.

Now that the cases have come down significantly, the government has ordered local health centres and testing stations to no longer provide rapid antigen tests, but only polymerase chain reaction tests to high-risk groups, starting Monday, the Korea Herald newspaper reported.

More than 86 per cent of the South Korean population of 51 million has been fully vaccinated, with the majority also receiving a booster shot.

South Korea is rolling out second boosters to vulnerable populations.

Around 20,000 people in South Korea have died from the coronavirus — a 0.13 per cent fatality rate, which is one of the world's lowest, reports AFP.

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