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South Korea to drop most COVID rules as Omicron wave ebbs

South Korea has said it will lift all COVID-19 social distancing rules, except for the requirement to wear masks, marking the first time most restrictions have been lifted since the pandemic began two years ago.

The 10-person limit on private social gatherings and a midnight curfew at restaurants, coffee shops and other indoor businesses will come to an end on Monday, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced.

“The Omicron [variant] has shown signs of weakening significantly after peaking in the third week of March,” Kim said on Friday. “As the virus situation is stabilised and capabilities of our medical system are confirmed, the government [has] decided to boldly lift social distancing measures.”

People will still be required to wear masks indoors “for a considerable time ahead,” he added, but an outdoor mask mandate might be lifted in two weeks if the outbreak slows further.

The strict distancing requirements had put a huge strain on small businesses, and their removal is a sign that life in South Korea is returning to normal.Approximately 20,000 people in South Korea have died from the coronavirus – a 0.13 percent death rate, which is one of the world’s lowest.

Source – AJ News