The Government of South Korea has reportedly walked back on its decision to ease the mask mandates it imposed in the capital city of Seoul as well as its underlying metropolitan area. The reversal in decision comes after the country witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases, with the fast-spreading Delta variant and people in their 20s and 30s making up a bulk of the demographic.
As per reports, wearing masks would be made compulsory for everyone, regardless of whether they have been fully or partially vaccinated. Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency stated that the mandates would be in effect in the city as well as its surrounding regions due to the recent uptick in new coronavirus infections.
The mask mandate announcement comes after the South Korean government’s May announcement that it will be lifting the mask mandate for individuals roaming outdoors given that they have been vaccinated.
For the record, approximately 15.3 million individuals across South Korea have been administered their first of the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, despite being among of the few countries that were internationally praised for the way they controlled the spread of the virus, the nation has seen a recent spike in cases.
An official from the South Korean Health Ministry, Sohn Young-rae, stated that the COVID-19 virus is making its way through the Seoul area at a menacing speed, with Delta variant cases increasing at an immense pace.
Young-rae further added that a past 10 pm curfew on outdoor drinking has also been passed in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Of late, Seoul’s riverside parks have become a hotspot for drinking and socializing among young people. Especially after restaurants, pubs, and bars are closing at the 10 pm deadline under the social distancing restrictions.
As per the government agency statistics, the recent spike in coronavirus cases has been fueled by young people from Seoul or from its neighboring Gyeonggi province, accounting for 81% of the country’s COVID-19 patient count.