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(LEAD) As temperature rises in S. Korea, worries grow over wearing face masks

National 18:59 June 04, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with latest temperatures in paras 1-5)

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- The temperature in South Korea's southern inland area hit over 35 C Thursday, raising concerns over the wearing of face masks amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

A heat wave advisory went into effect in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, as well as the nearby counties of Cheongdo, Gimcheon, Chilgok, Seongju, Goryeong and Gyeongsan, starting at 11 a.m.

Last year the first heat wave advisory issued in the region was on May 23.

The state weather agency said the daytime temperature peaked at 35.6 C in Pohang, a southeastern port city, 35.1 C in Daegu, and 34.2 C in Gumi, north of Daegu. That is 10.3 degrees higher than the 30-year average in Pohang, while Daegu and Gumi posted daily highs 6.9 and 6.5 degrees higher than the average, respectively.

The advisory comes amid concerns over wearing thick face masks during warm weather.

Health authorities have been trying to search for more realistic anti-virus measures for the summer season, as the outbreak shows no sign of letting up.

The government recently approved thinner face masks in a move that is expected to help cap the price for so-called dental masks.

A local mask manufacturer is scheduled to start selling them online Friday, with each mask tentatively priced at 500 won (40 US cents).

The government currently rations two kinds of thicker, more durable masks at 1,500 won each through pharmacies and designated outlets.

Pedestrians wearing face mask walk past a pharmacy in the central Seoul ward of Jongno on May 31, 2020. (Yonhap)

mlee@yna.co.kr
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