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Train passengers who do not wear masks will face fines under new law


Train passengers failing to wear masks and comply with quarantine rules against infectious diseases will face monetary penalties under a soon-to-be revised law, the government said Monday.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport made a pre-announcement of the revision of the Railroad Safety Act scheduled to take effect early next month after getting approval from the Cabinet. Under the revision, violators of quarantine rules will be fined.

The revised law will prohibit all violations of quarantine guidelines over the coronavirus and other infectious diseases, taking a cue from the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act, which obliges all passengers on buses, trains, ships and airplanes to wear masks and follow other quarantine rules.

The ministry said the new railroad safety law will establish a legal basis for mandating the wearing of masks on trains to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.

Face masks became mandatory on the nation's public transport, including buses, subway trains and taxis, on May 26, as part of the government's all-out fight against the coronavirus.

But the mandate has been said to be ineffective in many cases, due to the absence of clear legal means to punish the violators.

There have been fistfights among public transport passengers and operators over mask wearing.

"The current Railroad Safety Act only prohibits infectious disease patients from riding on passenger trains and has no specific clauses on mandatory wearing of masks and observance of other quarantine rules, creating a vacuum in law enforcement," a ministry official said. (Yonhap)