Decision on Korea’s indoor mask mandate to be made by end of year
The fate of Korea’s indoor mask mandate will be decided by the end of the month.
The government “will discuss the adjustment direction for the mandatory wearing of masks indoors and come up with a final plan by the end of this month,” said Lee Sang-min, the minister of the interior and safety and second deputy head of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, at a headquarters meeting at the government complex in central Seoul on Wednesday.
“In early November, the government announced that it would discuss the easing of the indoor mask mandate after the peak of the resurgence of Covid-19 during the winter has passed,” said Lee. “At the next headquarters meeting on Friday, we will discuss the direction of the rule and hold an open discussion and expert advisory meetings on Dec. 15.”
Regarding the fact that some local governments, such as that of Daejeon, are moving to lift the indoor mask mandates on their own accord, Lee said that it is “desirable and right” for local governments to consult with the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters for such decisions.
“There is a great concern about the spread of infection due to increased indoor activities during the winter,” Lee said Wednesday. “Since the effectiveness of mask wearing has been proven by various studies, we ask for the understanding and cooperation of the public and local governments.”
Lee stressed that uncertainty still remains as to whether the pandemic has completely waned, with daily new cases continually fluctuating.
“This winter is expected to be the last hurdle of the resurgence of Covid-19,” emphasized Lee. “It is more important than ever to maintain a unified quarantine policy nationwide.”
BY KIM EUN-BIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]