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Quarantine pass system to be suspended from March 1

Posted March. 01, 2022 07:23,   

Updated March. 01, 2022 07:23


The “quarantine pass” system, which had been implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus, will be suspended on Tuesday across the country. A total of 11 types of facilities including diners, cafes, and indoor sports facilities will be accessible to unvaccinated people. The system was first introduced in November last year.

On Monday, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters made an announcement that puts a temporary halt to the quarantine pass system. The government also retracted its plan to institute a quarantine pass for youth (aged 12 to 17), which had been scheduled to be applied starting April. The exact term of suspension has not been decided yet.

The so-called “QR check-in” required to enter cafes and restaurants will also become unnecessary along with the suspension of the quarantine pass. The QR check system had been in place for one year and eight months since its introduction in June 2020.

The quarantine pass caused a fair share of heated debate. With some making a case for a significant infringement of basic rights, a total 18 lawsuits are currently ongoing across the nation. The controversy was further aggravated upon the court order on Feb. 23 prohibiting the application of quarantine pass in restaurants and cafes for those aged under 60. Interior and Safety Minister Jeon Hae-cheol said the equity (of the quarantine system), in terms of age and region, was taken into consideration.

Despite the announcement, the covid situation in South Korea is worsening compared to “the Delta variant” phase. As of Monday, the daily death toll of the coronavirus stood at 114, the largest since the outbreak first occurred in South Korea and the number of severe patients at hospital surged to 715.

The quarantine authorities are expecting that the covid situation will get worse over the months to come. In a briefing, Jung Eun-kyung, the commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said the number of severe patients of the coronavirus will pass the mark of 1,200 on March 9. Some foresee that some 2,750 patients will suffer severe covid symptoms in mid-March.

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