SEOUL: The South Korean government plans to lift the mask mandate for large outdoor gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts, as early as this week amid a steady decline in new Covid-19 cases, officials said on Thursday.
The decision came after an experts' advisory committee on the government's infectious disease response policy recommended the lifting of the mandate in outdoor gatherings of over 50 people, reports Yonhap News Agency.
Currently, people not wearing a mask at such large outdoor events are subject to a fine.
In May, the government lifted the outdoor mask mandate for individuals but kept the mask rule for large outdoor group gatherings, such as sporting and concert events, and outdoor rallies.
The government plans to announce the decision as early as this week.
Rules for indoor mask wearing, however, remain in place for the time being, according to the officials.
On Thursday, new Covid cases fell to the lowest number in nearly three months, as the virus wave is slowing down at a steady pace.
In the last 24 hours, the country reported 33,009 new infections, including 255 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 24,535,940, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The latest tally is down by more than 8,200 from the previous day and the lowest for a Thursday figure since 18,494 recorded on July 7.
The overall death toll currently stood at 28,009.