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South Korea drops the rule of wearing mask outside

Health authorities lifted the mandate on Monday in the latest step to relax distancing curbs, even amid opposition from the transition team of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol which has called the decision premature.

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“I tried taking it off when I left home but then 70-80% of people I saw downtown were wearing it. I guess it’s too early to get rid of it even when we’re outside," Lee Byung-young, 61, told Reuters.

Kim Eun-hee, 52, said she would feel safer without a mask if daily infections fall further to about 5,000.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 20,084 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday, with daily cases continuing to drop from a peak of more than 620,000 in mid-March.

Lee Geun-young, 34, who was wearing a mask, said he would stick to wearing one until COVID-19 becomes less concerning.

“I, too, miss the pre-pandemic days when we lived without a mask," he said from Hyochang Park. “It is inconvenient, but it’s better to stay careful not only for myself but not to cause harm to others.

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