Beginning Monday next week, people can use public transportation, including buses, subways, and airplanes, without wearing a protective facemask. The government is taking the measure based on the judgment that the Covid-19 situation in the country remains stable even after the indoor mask mandate was lifted on January 30.
On Wednesday, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters confirmed and announced a plan that switches the mask mandate to ‘mask recommendation.’ From Monday next week, people will no longer be obliged to wear the face covering when visiting large discount stores, train stations, and bus terminals.
Passenger ferries linking South Korea and China, which remained suspended from January 2020, will also resume from Monday. The operation of passenger ferries between the two countries is thus resuming in phases for the first time in three years and two months. Thus far, only freight ferries have been operating between the two nations.
In the wake of lifting the mask mandate, facilities where people are obliged to wear a mask include clinics, hospitals, ordinary pharmacies, and nursery houses for the elderly, where people are more vulnerable to infection. The mask mandate at hospitals and other facilities susceptible to infection will likely be lifted only after the World Health Organization terminates the public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) measure in late April or early May. The remaining measures against Covid-19 in Korea are seven-day quarantine for a confirmed patient and a mask mandate at certain places, including medical institutions. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency will announce a ‘roadmap’ of plans to lift remaining quarantine measures.