South Korean President Moon Jae-in directed the government on Friday to allow a broader range of people to make proxy-purchases of face masks under a new system to distribute masks to the public. His order came just one day after criticism only grew over the government’s new mask distribution system, under which even children and senior citizens with little mobility must visit pharmacies with valid identification to buy masks.
President Moon said that any further inconvenience is not supposed to occur due to the new scheme as the system itself can be an inconvenience as well as a limitation, according to South Korean presidential office spokesman Kang Min-seok. The president implicitly reprimanded related authorities by ordering government officials to consider various possible scenarios and find a solution from a perspective of those subject to the policy. Earlier on Thursday, the government set forth a new system to ensure stable mask supply, which allows each person to buy only two masks per week and makes proxy-purchases exclusive to those with disabilities.
As directed by President Moon, the government plans to announce a supplementary measure to permit mask purchases on behalf of the elderly and children before next Monday when the new mask distribution policy is put in place. The president also ordered government officials to accelerate the development of an application that can keep track of mask stockpiles to help spare people a fruitless visit to pharmacies for masks.