South Korea abandons virus control, invites 41,000 to presidential inauguration

South Korea’s President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol invited 41,000 guests to attend his inauguration ceremony on May 10, Yonhap News reported Tuesday, noting that Yoon’s team recently expanded its guest list beyond than was previously planned, in light of South Korea ruling out almost all of the Chinese coronavirus. – Related social gathering restrictions on Monday.

Yoon’s swearing-in ceremony will take place on May 10 in a square in front of the South Korean National Assembly building in Seoul. The outdoor space has a capacity for 50,000 people.

“Some 41,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony, including political leaders [and] citizens,” Yoon’s transition team told reporters on April 19.

An inaugural ceremony committee overseeing the event “previously planned to invite about 10,000 people in line with previous COVID-19 guidelines,” the transition team said Tuesday.

The committee chose to invite 31,000 more people to Yoon’s swearing-in ceremony after South Korea’s federal government lifted nearly all of the country’s pandemic-related social distancing restrictions, except for a mask mandate, on April 18.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 10: President-elect of South Korea Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party celebrates with party members and lawmakers at the National Assembly on March 10, 2022 in Seoul , South Korea.  The main opposition candidate, Yoon Suk-yeol, has been elected the next president of South Korea.  (Photo by Lee Jin-Man - Pool/Getty Images)

President-elect of South Korea Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party celebrates with party members and lawmakers at the National Assembly on March 10, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Lee Jin-Man – Pool/Getty Images)

“The midnight curfew and a 10-person limit on the size of meetings will be lifted from Monday. [April 18],” South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said in announcing the development on April 15, as quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The development has allowed South Koreans to enjoy life without most social distancing restrictions for the first time since March 2020.

The remaining bans on “eating inside facilities such as cinemas will also be lifted from April 25th,” AFP reported on April 15th.

A persistent requirement that South Koreans wear sanitary masks indoors and outdoors will remain in place for now, though Prime Minister Kim said on April 15 that his government would reconsider the policy in the coming weeks.

“Use of indoor masks will be unavoidable for a considerable time,” Kim said. “As far as wearing masks outdoors, which poses a relatively minor risk, we will decide after two weeks based on a review of the virus situation.”

Kim further explained that South Korean health officials have decided to drop most of the remaining pandemic restrictions after witnessing a steady drop in the country’s daily new cases of the Chinese coronavirus.

“Omicron showed signs of significant weakening after peaking in the third week of March,” Kim told reporters on April 15. measures.”

Yonhap on April 18 described South Korea’s number of Chinese coronavirus cases as “retreating.” The news agency also noted that South Korea’s death rate for the disease was “0.13 percent.”

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