Seoul: As Covid cases in South Korea fell below 110,000 on Saturday, the country is set to gradually return to normalcy starting next week by lifting major social distancing rules.
Starting Monday, South Korea plans to lift all Covid social distancing rules, except the mask mandate, in the first big step toward post-pandemic days since the outbreak of the virus two years ago.
Under the plan, the midnight business hour curfew for restaurants, cafes and other small businesses will be completely lifted. The same will apply to the 10-person cap on the size of private gatherings, Yonhap news agency reported.
South Korea first introduced social distancing measures in March 2020. At one point, the restrictions were tightened to only allow two people to meet at night and only allow takeout at cafes.
Health officials, nevertheless, predict that the new daily case numbers could hover between the range of 50,000-100,000 for quite some time.
Of the local cases reported Saturday, 18,118 patients were from Seoul, and its surrounding Gyeonggi Province added 27,480 cases. Incheon, located west of the capital city, found 5,606 additional infections.
So far, 44.5 million, or 86.8 per cent of the population, have been fully vaccinated with at least two shots. The number of those who have received four shots came to 423,814, or 0.8 per cent.