South Korea drops virus curbs, invites 41,000 to presidential inauguration

South Korea drops virus curbs, invites 41,000 to presidential inauguration

South Korea’s President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has invited 41,000 guests to attend his inauguration ceremony on May 10, Yonhap News reported Tuesday, noting that Yoon’s team recently expanded its list of guests beyond what was previously expected in light of South Korea dropping nearly all Chinese coronavirus-related restrictions on social gatherings on Monday.

Yoon’s inauguration ceremony will be held on May 10 at a plaza in front of South Korea’s National Assembly building in Seoul. The outdoor space has a capacity of 50,000 people.

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

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

The committee opted to invite an additional 31,000 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: South Korean President-elect 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. South Korea.  Leading opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol has been elected South Korea's next president.  (Photo by Lee Jin-Man - Pool/Getty Images)

South Korean President-elect 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 the 10-person cap on the size of gatherings will be lifted from Monday [April 18]”, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said when 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.

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

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

“Wearing an indoor mask will be unavoidable for a considerable time,” Kim said. “As for wearing the mask outdoors, which has a relatively lower risk, we will decide after two weeks based on a review of the virus situation.”

Kim further explained that South Korean health officials decided to remove most of the remaining pandemic restrictions after seeing a steady decline in new daily Chinese coronavirus cases in the country.

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

On April 18, Yonhap described the number of Chinese coronavirus cases in South Korea as “declining”. The news agency also observed that South Korea’s death rate from the disease was “0.13%”.

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