SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- The government will extend the current seven-day quarantine mandate for COVID-19 patients for four more weeks until June 20, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min said Friday.
The current level of the virus spread is within the country's capacity to manage, but infection concerns still linger, such as new virus variants and waning vaccine immunity, the minister said during a government COVID-19 response meeting.
The government had earlier planned to lift the quarantine mandate Monday after it downgraded the infectious disease level for COVID-19 by one notch to the second-highest level late last month.
"The current seven-day quarantine requirement for patients will be retained, and the government plans to reassess the infection situation in four weeks," Lee said.
"Highly infectious new variants have been identified domestically with possibilities of waning effects of COVID-19 vaccines and immune evasion being raised," he said, offering an apology for a delay in the return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
On Friday, South Korea reported some 25,000 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest-ever number for a Friday in 16 weeks.
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