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S. Korea’s PM hints at change in mask policy as supply remains stable

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 7, 2020: A woman in a medical mask walks past a sign reading "I Love Seoul" in Gwanghwamun Square. The Chinese authorities registered an outbreak of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus in Wuhan in December 2019. Stanislav Varivoda/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, May 24, 2020, Yonhap. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Sunday hinted at changing the country’s current mask distribution system in the fight against the new coronavirus as the supply of the protective item remains stable across the nation, Yonhap reported.

Chung made the remark during a government meeting on the response to COVID-19, noting that the recent mask supply has more than doubled compared to that of January.

“Our current mask policy, which mandates 80 percent of the production to be supplied to places that sell masks under the public distribution system, also needs to change naturally,” he said.

South Korea suffered a mask supply crisis when the coronavirus outbreak peaked in the country in late February and early March. But the supply has stabilized since the government stepped in to regulate production and distribution.

Under the public distribution system, all South Koreans and registered noncitizens here can buy three KF94 masks a week on an assigned day, depending on their birth year, at pharmacies and other designated places nationwide.

During Sunday’s meeting, the prime minister also said the government will push to double production of the number of lighter dental masks to up to 1 million a day for use in summer.

“Citizens find it more uncomfortable to keep the masks on as the weather gets hotter, but putting them on remains inevitable for the safety of the public,” he said.

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