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Moon Hopes for Return to Normalcy for S. Koreans in New Year

#Hot Issues of the Week l 2021-02-14



To mark the Lunar New Year on Friday, President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook sent their best wishes to the country marking the start of the Year of the Ox amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

In a video greeting posted on the president's social networking site, President Moon empathized with the people who have postponed trips to their hometowns. While expressing regret that this major holiday — just like Chuseok — is one that leaves much to be desired, he also expressed hope that the country will return to normalcy free from face masks and business regulations in the new year.

The president expressed his thanks toward quarantine and medical personnel for their hard work during the holiday.  

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun had stressed that the Lunar New Year holiday will be an important turning point in determining the direction of the third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country.

At a meeting with officials on Wednesday, Chung said the public will play the central role in quarantine measures, as they have always done in times of crises.

Referring to people opting to mark the holiday with family online and by sending gifts, the prime minister thanked the public for their efforts.

To discourage people from traveling, the government left all highway tolls in place over the holiday period and ordered rest stops to only offer take out.

This contrasts with previous years when tolls were exempt during major holidays. The revenue will be used for quarantine efforts.

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