Hard-hit businesses, low-risk facilities to benefit 1st from eased rules: S.Korean PM

South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Friday that hard-hit businesses and low-risk facilities will be the first to benefit from eased Covid-19 restrictions starting next month.

Kim made the remark during a meeting of a government-civilian panel overseeing the transition to life after Covid-19, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“The return to normal will proceed in stages and systematically,” he said.

“We will take drastic and active steps to ease the virus restrictions starting with businesses and neglected groups that have suffered greatly (during the pandemic), and facilities with a low risk of spreading infections.”

Health authorities have said they plan to relax restrictions next month as part of a transition to “living with Covid-19” as the rate of fully vaccinated people nears 70 per cent.

Kim said that in the early stages of the transition eased restrictions will have to apply only to the fully vaccinated.

“Vaccinations help prevent infections and greatly reduce the number of serious cases and deaths, so it is an inevitable choice,” he said.

The Prime Minister stressed, however, that it will be important for facilities to still follow basic antivirus precautions once the mandates are lifted.

South Korea has implemented a four-level social distancing scheme, with the greater Seoul area currently under the strictest level, which includes curfews on restaurant hours and caps on the size of private gatherings.

The government plans to announce specific guidelines for the return to normal next week based on discussions at Friday’s meeting.