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South Koreans no longer need masks outdoors if vaccinated against Covid-19

a woman wearing a mask takes a walk on a sunny day amid the coronavirus disease (covid 19) pandemic at the cheonggye stream in seoul
South Korean can rid themselves of face masks if they are vaccinated REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korea on Wednesday said masks will no longer be required outdoors from July for those vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot.

The move is a bid to encourage older residents to get vaccinated as South Korea aims to immunise at least 70% of its 52 million people by September, from just 7.7% now.

People given at least one dose also will be allowed to gather in larger numbers starting June, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a coronavirus response meeting on Wednesday.

He said all quarantine measures would be adjusted in October once more than 70% of residents had received their first dose.

Over 60% of people aged between 60 and 74 had signed up for vaccination, Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said.

South Korea will begin vaccinating the general public aged between 65 and 74 from Thursday in over 12,000 clinics.

South Korea reported 707 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total tally to 137,682 infections, with 1,940 deaths.

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