The South Korean government said Monday it will ease social restrictions and shift to "everyday life quarantine" on Wednesday, calling on the public to cooperate in its new campaign against the coronavirus pandemic.

Primary and secondary school pupils and students will gradually return to school, and museums and sports facilities will be reopened in phases, after growing public weariness with prolonged social distancing.

(General view of Seoul Museum of History as blue lights to show support for health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and send messages of hope to the people on May 1, 2020 in Seoul.)[Getty/Kyodo]  

South Korea saw coronavirus cases surge in late February, prompting the government to set social distancing guidelines in March to slow the spread of the virus. Sporting events and concerts were subsequently canceled, while classes went online.

The government will no longer call for these social distancing measures from Wednesday.

South Korea has reported 10,801 virus cases but has seen the number of daily new cases whittled down to roughly 10, with zero domestic infections recorded on some days. There have been no confirmed cases in the capital, Seoul, for two weeks.

The government has found it necessary to bring economic activities back to normal quickly, on concerns a slump in consumption could worsen the slowdown.

To stem the virus from spreading, the government will ask the public to adhere to basic health guidelines, such as wearing face masks, disinfecting hands, avoiding crowds and refraining from going outside when feverish.

But as restrictions become prolonged, some South Koreans have stopped adhering to social distancing rules. Tourist spots have been awash with people during the six-day holiday week since Thursday, some seen without masks.

On Monday, President Moon Jae In said abiding by social distancing guidelines, such as wearing masks, is "the way to get our freedom back as soon as possible."