SOUTH KOREA, THE PHILIPPINES: South Korea has loosened rules requiring masks to be worn outdoors as COVID-19 cases drop, but many people are not taking them off yet due to pervasive Omicron infections.
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.
Most people were seen wearing masks on the bustling streets in Gwanghwamun district, where government and corporate buildings are located, saying the protection makes them feel more at ease.
People are still required to wear masks indoors, and at outdoor events with 50 attendants or more, such as at rallies, concerts and sports stadiums.
At Hyochang Park in central Seoul, around 80% of dozens of visitors were wearing masks.
The country of 52 million people has managed to limit its total case load to 17,295,733 with 22,958 deaths, through aggressive tracing and testing as well as widespread vaccination.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is considering donating to Myanmar five million doses of Sputnik V COVID vaccine that are close to expiry, a senior health official said on Monday.
According to the Health Ministry, less than half of the 53 million population have received two doses of a COVID vaccine in Myanmar. That compares to nearly 67.9 million people vaccinated in the Philippines, which has battled one of the worst COVID crises in Asia. – NDTV