S. Korea advises not to wear COVID-19 masks while social distancing outdoors to prevent heatstroke

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : June 22, 2020, 15:50 | Updated : June 22, 2020, 16:26

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- South Korea's disease control headquarters has advised people not to wear masks if they are keeping a social distance of two meters (6.5 feet) in outdoor environments in order to prevent heat-related illnesses.

"If keeping a social distance of two meters is possible, we advise people not to wear a mask," Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) Director Jeong Eun-Kyeong told reporters during a regular briefing on Monday.

The KCDC director said that "It is important to wear a mask to prevent COVID-19 infection but wearing a mask outside in hot weather can increase heart rate, respiration rate and sensible temperature, which can put stress on the body,"

KCDC's advice came amid a heatwave warning that was issued in some ten cities across South Korea including Seoul on Monday. The temperature in Seoul peaked at 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) as of 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT).

The state disease control body also advised that people who are outdoors with their masks on should take their masks off and rest at places where they can keep their social distance.

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