SEOUL, June 4 (Korea Bizwire) — The temperature in South Korea’s southern inland area hit over 35 C Thursday, raising concerns over the wearing of face masks amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
A heat wave advisory went into effect in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, as well as the nearby counties of Cheongdo, Gimcheon, Chilgok, Seongju, Goryeong and Gyeongsan, starting at 11 a.m.
Last year the first heat wave advisory issued in the region was on May 23.
The state weather agency said the daytime temperature peaked at 35.6 C in Pohang, a southeastern port city, 35.1 C in Daegu, and 34.2 C in Gumi, north of Daegu.
That is 10.3 degrees higher than the 30-year average in Pohang, while Daegu and Gumi posted daily highs 6.9 and 6.5 degrees higher than the average, respectively.
The advisory comes amid concerns over wearing thick face masks during warm weather.
Health authorities have been trying to search for more realistic anti-virus measures for the summer season, as the outbreak shows no sign of letting up.
The government recently approved thinner face masks in a move that is expected to help cap the price for so-called “dental masks.”
A local mask manufacturer is scheduled to start selling them online Friday, with each mask tentatively priced at 500 won (40 US cents).
The government currently rations two kinds of thicker but more durable masks at 1,500 won per piece through pharmacies and designated outlets.
The government has toughened its guidelines on wearing masks in everyday life as new coronavirus cases continue to rise in double-digits.
Starting late last month, passengers using buses, subways and taxis are advised to wear face masks. Drivers can refuse to offer rides to passengers not wearing masks.
South Korea reported a COVID-19 caseload of 11,629 as of Thursday, with most of the recent cases concentrated in the capital area.