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Transition team slams gov't's lifting of social distancing rules

Politics 16:58 April 20, 2022

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- The transition team of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday slammed the government for prematurely lifting all COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

In a statement read by a spokesperson, transition team Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo said many health workers are concerned the removal of all restrictions at once will cause the public to let down their guard at a time when daily COVID-19 cases are still in the hundreds of thousands and daily COVID-19 deaths are over 100.

"It is not wise to lift all antivirus measures as if COVID-19 does not exist," he said, according to spokesperson Shin Yong-hyeon. "While returning to normal, we must simultaneously take steps to protect high-risk and vulnerable populations from the risk of COVID-19."

On Monday, the government lifted all restrictions, including a curfew on business hours and a cap on the size of private gatherings. A mask mandate, however, remains in place.

Ahn urged the government not to hastily lift the mask mandate, saying mask wearing is a basic rule for preventing infectious diseases and the "final line of defense."

He also criticized the government for making the "rash" decision to remove the quarantine mandate for COVID-19 patients in late May, adding the incoming administration will take the step when it deems it appropriate.

If the current plan holds, the quarantine rule would be lifted after the Yoon administration takes office on May 10.

Shin Yong-hyeon, the spokesperson of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's transition team, gives a press briefing at the committee's headquarters in Seoul on April 20, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Shin Yong-hyeon, the spokesperson of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's transition team, gives a press briefing at the committee's headquarters in Seoul on April 20, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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