South Korea lifted almost all of its COVID-19 precautions on Monday in a major step towards a return to normal life as the Omicron variant recedes and daily infections retreated to a more than two-month low of fewer than 50,000.
A midnight curfew on restaurants and other businesses was scrapped, along with a cap of 10 people allowed to gather. From
next week, people will be allowed to eat snacks in cinemas and other indoor public facilities such as stadiums.
Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.
People are still required to wear masks, however, with the government planning to review whether to lift a rule for masks
outdoors in two weeks.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The relaxation of the rules come as the number of coronavirus cases in South Korea fell to 47,743 on Monday, the lowest since February 9, after hovering at more than 620,000 a day in mid-March.
Some rules, however, remain including mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated inbound travelers and negative PCR tests for the fully vaccinated.
South Korea has largely managed to limit deaths and critical cases through widespread vaccination, and it has scaled back the aggressive tracing and containment efforts that made it a mitigation success story from most of the first two years of the
Nearly 87 percent of the 52 million population are fully vaccinated, with 64 percent having also had a booster, according to Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency data.
In line with the easing of the rules, companies are gradually returning to their offices.
Most staff at giant steelmaker POSCO have returned to their offices this month, becoming one of the first major firms to bring people back.
LG Electronics said it had reduced the proportion of employees working from home to 30 percent from 50 percent from Monday, while scrapping a limit on the number of people allowed in meetings.
Samsung Electronics said it had yet to implement its back-to-office plan and the public sector is also awaiting new government guidelines.
The Bank of Korea, which has 30 percent of its head office staff working from home, is considering easing its guidelines, officials said.
The government had recommended workplaces with 300 or more employees adopt flexible working hours and have 10 percent of staff work from home.
Shanghai reports first COVID-19 deaths since start of lockdownShanghai on Monday said three people had died from COVID-19, the first official announcement of deaths from an outbreak which has plunged the megacity ... Coronavirus
Hong Kong reports 747 new COVID-19 cases as infections continue to dropHong Kong reported a total of 747 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the number of infections continues to fall from tens of thousands last ... Coronavirus
Poorer nations shun millions of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine dosesPoorer nations have refused tens of millions of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the global program COVAX, a document shows, the latest sign that ... Coronavirus
China’s COVID-19 deaths data questioned as tally lags other nationsAlmost two months into China’s worst Covid-19 outbreak, the vast country has reported only two deaths - a striking number that’s the subject of ... World News
COVID-19 cases, deaths in Africa drop to lowest levels yet: WHOThe number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Africa have dropped to their lowest levels since the pandemic began, marking the longest decline yet ... Coronavirus
UK approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six to 11Britain’s medicines regulator said on Thursday it had approved the use of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine in children between six and 11 years, as the ... Coronavirus