South Korea Lifts Most Covid Restrictions But Keeps Rules for Inbound Travelers

Skift grip

As Covid cases fell to a two-month low on Monday, South Korea will lift restrictions inside the country. However, mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated incoming travelers and negative PCR tests for fully vaccinated people remain in effect.

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South Korea on Monday lifted nearly all of its Covid-19 precautions in a major step towards a return to normal life as the Omicron variant retreats and withdraws daily to a low of more than two months lower. of 50,000.

A midnight curfew on restaurants and other businesses was scrapped, along with a cap of 10 people allowed to gather. From next week, people will be allowed to eat snacks in cinemas and other indoor public facilities such as stadiums.

However, people are still required to wear masks, with the government planning to consider whether to lift a rule for masks outdoors in two weeks.

The loosening of rules comes as the number of coronavirus cases in South Korea fell to 47,743 on Monday, the lowest since Feb. 9, after hovering at more than 620,000 a day in mid-March.

Some rules remain in place, however, including mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated incoming travelers and negative PCR tests for fully vaccinated people.

South Korea was largely successful in limiting deaths and critical cases through widespread vaccination, and it scaled back the aggressive tracing and containment efforts that made it a mitigation success story for most of the first two years. of the pandemic.

Nearly 87% of the country’s 52 million population are fully vaccinated, 64% of whom have also received a booster, according to data from Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

In the wake of the relaxation of the rules, companies are gradually returning to their offices.

Most of the steel giant POSCO’s employees returned to their offices this month, becoming one of the first big companies to bring people back.

LG Electronics said it reduced the proportion of employees working from home to 30% from 50% from Monday, while removing a limit on the number of people allowed in meetings.

Samsung Electronics said it has yet to implement its return-to-office plan and the public sector is also awaiting further government guidance.

The Bank of Korea, which has 30% of its headquarters staff working from home, is considering relaxing its guidelines, officials said.

The government had recommended workplaces with 300 or more employees adopt flexible working hours and have 10% of staff work from home.

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang and Byungwook Kim)

This article was written by Soo-hyang Choi from Reuters and has been legally licensed through Industry Dive Content market. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].