March 20, 2023 09:30
The mask mandate on public transportation was finally lifted after two years and five months on Monday morning.
People can go unmasked on buses, subways, taxis, trains, passenger ships and airplanes as well as pharmacies in superstores or train stations.
But they still have to wear masks at high-risk facilities like stand-alone pharmacies, hospitals and nursing homes.
The government still recommends that passengers wear masks on crowded buses or subways during rush hours.
Many Koreans will continue to wear masks voluntarily because they have grown used to them, and experts say that is a good idea since as many as 10,000 new COVID infections still occur every day.
As of March 17, the daily tally of new infections stood at 9,065. It peaked at 20,413 on Feb. 1 and continued to fall throughout the month to 4,023 on Feb. 27 but has since risen again to around 10,000.
The cumulative number of infections reached 30,702,960 on Monday morning, with 34,174 deaths, 90 percent of whom were over 60.
In several recent polls, more than 70 percent of respondents said they will keep wearing masks indoors, which could also reflect a new anxiety about facing others bare-faced.
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