Mask mandate lifted everywhere except public transportation in South Korea

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South Korea will drop its mask mandate for most indoor locations, becoming one of the last Asian countries to require coverings to live with COVID-19.

The mandate expires on Jan. 30, though the country still recommends people wear masks indoors, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said in a statement. Masks will still be required in a number of places, including care homes and hospitals, as well as public transport, it said. Korea’s mask mandate was in effect since November 2020.

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Authorities have determined that the current COVID-19 wave has peaked, based on the country’s death rate and number of critical patients. It is estimated that nearly 98.6% of South Koreans have antibodies to the virus, the agency said, and measures targeting visitors from China mean that the current wave of infections in that country will have a limited impact.

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