By KIM TONG-HYUNG
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea will ease its outdoor mask mandate starting next week as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to decline. Health authorities said that starting Monday, people will only be required to wear a mask outdoors when participating in gatherings of more than 50 people or attending sports and cultural events with potentially large crowds. The mask mandate for indoors and public transport will also remain in place. South Korea had already removed much of its pandemic restrictions earlier this month, including a 10-person limit on private social gatherings and a midnight curfew at restaurants, coffee shops and bars. The office of President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol raised concern that the move to ease the mask mandate could be premature.