South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that the country will begin returning to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic in November amid the rising vaccination rate.
Moon made the remarks in his budget speech at the parliament, saying the country will launch a gradual return to normal life in November based on the stable virus containment and the high vaccination rate.
He said the businesses of small merchants and self-employed people, hit hard by quarantine measures, will gradually recover while offline classes will be normalized amid the normal operations of welfare centers.
The president, however, noted that the basic antivirus measures, such as wearing masks, will be maintained to switch into a sustainable system to tackle the pandemic.
Moon's remarks came as the country's full vaccination rate topped 70 percent of the population, which was seen by the government as a major precondition to gradually ease antivirus measures.
The government proposed a record-high budget of 604.4 trillion won (517 billion US dollars) for 2022, Moon said. It was up 8.3 percent from this year's budget.
Moon noted that the government will maintain an expansionary fiscal stance next year to bolster economic recovery, narrow inequalities and raise investment for the digital and green economies.