South Korea announced on Wednesday it will offer some exemptions to mandatory quarantine measures for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, in an effort to encourage more inoculations.
South Korea has so far inoculated 4% of its 52 million strong population, but has set an ambitious target of administering jabs to 70% of its people by September and reaching herd immunity by November.
From May 5, residents who have had both COVID-19 vaccine doses will not have to undergo the mandatory 2-week quarantine for people who have been in contact with a confirmed patient or have returned from overseas travel, Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official, told a briefing.
The exemption will only apply for those with a negative coronavirus test and who show no related symptoms.
It will not apply to residents arriving from nations such as South Africa and Brazil where COVID-19 variants are dominant and to people who are inoculated in foreign countries.
S.Korea has procured a total 192 million jabs of COVID-19 vaccines, enough to administer close to twice its population, including those from Pfizer, AstraZeneca Plc, Moderna Inc, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.
It has vaccinated nearly 2.68 million people so far with AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines and aims to inoculate 12 million people by June, although there has been mounting vaccine hesitancy due to concerns over reports of blood clots.
South Korea reported 775 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 120,673, with 1,821 fatalities.