Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Sunday that the government sticks to its plan to return to a normal life in phases from late this month despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
The prime minister made the remarks in a forum hosted by the Korean Local Commercial Broadcasters Association.
Kim said that the public has been cooperative with the government's quarantine measures for 20 months and it is too hard for the government to ask the public to just endure.
The prime minister also noted the difficulties small businesses and the self-employed endure amid the continued pandemic.
He said that 70 percent of the population will have been fully vaccinated by the end of October, which will enable the nation to move onto the next stage.
However, Kim said that even if the nation begins to return to a normal life, people should still wear masks.