SEOUL, July 11 (Korea Bizwire) — President Yoon Suk-yeol suspended his daily morning Q&A sessions with reporters Monday due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the press room, officials said.
Doorstepping as Yoon arrives for work has become a daily routine, except on days when the president travels outside of the capital, allowing reporters to ask him questions on the pressing issues of the day.
Following a COVID-19 outbreak in the press room, which is located in the same building as Yoon’s office, the presidential office said doorstepping will be “temporarily suspended.”
Pool coverage of the president’s public activities will also be “minimized as much as possible,” while the spokesperson’s press briefings will be conducted in written form as much as possible.
Instead, the presidential office said it will promptly provide footage and photos of the president’s activities through the official presidential photo and video journalists, and regularly take reporters’ questions and faithfully answer them.
“The Yongsan Presidential Office’s working space is very densely populated, and the president’s office and the press room are not separated,” the presidential office said in a notice.
“As such, considering that it is prone to the spread of infectious diseases, we ask reporters for your understanding.”
The measure comes as South Korea has entered a new wave of COVID-19 amid the fast spread of the highly contagious mutation of the omicron strains, with experts warning the daily count could surge to around 200,000 next month.
On Monday, the country added 12,693 new COVID-19 infections, according to the health authorities.
The suspension also came as Yoon’s approval ratings have been on a steady decline to as low as 37 percent according to a poll released Monday. Yoon’s unrefined impromptu remarks during doorstepping have been cited by some critics as a reason for the fall.