SEOUL – President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday declared an end to almost all coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) restrictions, including mandatory isolation, effectively placing the disease in the endemic category.
Yoon said during a Covid-19 response meeting that the seven-day mandatory isolation period for Covid-19 patients will be reduced to a recommendation of five days.
He also said the indoor mask mandate will be lifted everywhere except for hospitals with rooms for hospitalization, and the PCR test-upon-arrival recommendation will be removed.
The new measures will take effect June 1 when the national crisis level for Covid-19 will be lowered from “serious” to “alert.”
“I am pleased that our people will reclaim their everyday lives after three years and four months,” Yoon said during the meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters at the presidential office.
“This was possible because of the dedication and efforts of many people,” he said, thanking front-line medical staff, health industry workers, and public officials.
“More than anything, I deeply thank our people for their active cooperation with the antivirus measures.”
The announcement came days after the World Health Organization declared an end to Covid-19 as a “global health emergency.”
Yoon said the government would continue to provide financial support for Covid-19 testing and treatment for now and prepare thoroughly against future pandemics by establishing a science-based response system.
He also vowed to increase the country’s vaccine development capabilities while strengthening cooperation with the international community and drawing up a detailed post-Covid-19 policy that sees pandemic-driven societal changes being used as future growth engines. (Yonhap)