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PM says experts thinking about lifting indoor mask mandate in late January

Politics 10:27 December 07, 2022

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has said health experts are thinking about lifting the indoor mask mandate in late January next year, suggesting that the government could drop the mandate earlier than previously anticipated.

South Korea has scrapped most pandemic-related restrictions since May, but the mask mandate for indoor spaces and public transport remains in place.

"It seems to be at this stage where experts are preemptively thinking that the indicators could meet the requirement by late January," Han told reporters on Tuesday when asked about the indoor mask mandate.

"At first, there were many experts who saw such a date as March, but I think we can do it a little earlier if the indicators progress," Han said.

Experts have agreed that the indoor mask mandate should be lifted after the winter wave of COVID-19 wanes, Han said.

Han said that he ordered officials to review when to lift the indoor mask requirement in September.

The government is expected to finalize the indicators on lifting the indoor mask mandate later this month, Han said.

The central city of Daejeon and South Chungcheong Province have announced that they will drop the indoor mask mandate from Jan. 1.

However, Han said local governments could not make their own decisions on the rule, saying that the prime minister has the authority to adjust the rule.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo (3rd from R) presides over a Cabinet meeting at the government complex in Sejong, 112 kilometers south of Seoul, on Dec. 6, 2022. (Yonhap)

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo (3rd from R) presides over a Cabinet meeting at the government complex in Sejong, 112 kilometers south of Seoul, on Dec. 6, 2022. (Yonhap)

kdh@yna.co.kr
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