South Korea lifts most social distancing measures after two years, mask mandate remains

The lifted measures will allow business to operate past midnight and groups of more than 10 persons to gather.

Muhd Zahin Ilmi

Sports enthusiast and expert overthinker.

Published: 18 April 2022, 1:05 PM

South Korea will lift nearly all of its social distancing restrictions after two years, with the exception of mask wearing.

According to a report by the AFP, the South Korean government will lift its restrictions as a result of a fall in the country’s reported COVID-19 cases after its Omicron-fuelled surge.

From Monday (Apr 18) onwards, businesses in South Korea will be allowed to operate past midnight and the 10-person cap on the size of gatherings will be lifted. 

Restrictions on eating inside facilities such as cinemas will also be lifted a week later, from Apr 25 onwards.

However, the mask mandate for indoor areas is still expected to remain for a considerable time in order to prevent another outbreak.

As for the outdoor mask wearing requirement, authorities will assess the COVID-19 cases in two weeks time before deciding whether to lift the measure.


Based on studies conducted, the risk of transmission outdoors is extremely low, and many countries such as the United States and Singapore have lifted the outdoor mask mandate. PHOTO CREDIT: MARKUS WINKLER VIA PEXELS


The South Korean government’s move to lift most of its distancing measures comes after the country’s Omicron peak period in March, which saw as many as 620,000 daily cases.

Daily cases in South Korea have since fallen to below 100,000 last week, with more than 86 per cent of the country’s population of 51 million being fully vaccinated. Majority of the vaccinated population have also received their booster shot, with second booster doses available for vulnerable citizens.

South Korea has recorded a total of 20,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic with a fatality rate of 0.13 per cent, one of the lowest in the world.

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