Recently, some local governments have announced plans to lift the indoor mask duty, causing controversy.
The health authorities have put forward a position that a cautious approach is needed as the quarantine mitigation is a matter that needs to be discussed with the central government.
This is reporter Nam Joo-hyun.
After Daejeon Metropolitan City announced on the 2nd that it would lift the mandatory indoor mask from next year, Chungcheongnam-do decided to review a plan to leave mask wearing to its own discretion.
When the local government's sudden move led to the government's claim that there was no legal basis to prevent the easing of mask obligations, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention countered.
The Basic Act on Disaster and Safety Management stipulates that the head of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters can direct the head of a regional disaster and safety countermeasures headquarter corresponding to the head of a local government.
The Agency for Disease Control and Prevention also pointed out that although local governments can strengthen quarantine measures, when mitigating them, it was agreed at the main script meeting last October to go through prior consultation and reporting.
Jeong Ki-seok, chairman of the Infectious Disease Crisis Response Advisory Committee, also said that a cautious approach is needed.
[Jeong Ki-seok/Infectious Disease Crisis Response Advisory Committee Chairman: If you take off the mask, it is obvious that infection will always occur.
As the number of infections increases, the number of critically ill patients and deaths increases.
We have to discuss how long we will protect them.]
In order to take off the mask, the position is that first, the improved vaccination rate for high-risk groups must be raised above 50%.
[Jung Ki-seok/Infectious Disease Crisis Response Advisory Committee Chairman: If vaccination is sufficient and hidden infected people continue to infect and gain natural immunity, the day when we lift the indoor mask duty may come a little sooner...
However, the health authorities announced that they would discuss whether and when to lift the mandatory mask at a forum attended by quarantine experts on the 15th and 26th, leaving room for relaxation of quarantine measures.