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[Newsmaker] Public masks purchasable any day of week


Government-rationed masks will be available for purchase at pharmacies on any day of the week, starting from Monday, according to the government on Sunday.

People under the age of 18 will be allowed up to five masks per week, two more than adults, given the resumption of in-person classes at schools nationwide.

The measure comes as part of the changes introduced to the public mask distribution system, which was first introduced in February at the height of novel coronavirus fears and has since contributed to the stabilization of the mask situation in the country.

“Mask supply has stabilized and we decided to end the number-based distribution,” Minister of Food and Drug Safety Lee Eui-kyung said in a briefing last week. Previously, customers were allowed to buy only on designated days, depending on the final digit of one’s year of birth.

The number of masks purchasable was initially set at two per week, then had been increased to three last month.

The price is unchanged at 1,500 won ($1.20) per unit.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety also noted the growing demand for more breathable masks with the recent rise in temperatures.

It said it was working to encourage mask producers to increase the output of masks that are not of the high filtration efficiencies but are still effective in blocking droplets, like surgical masks provided to medical professionals.

From news reports (