On the local front again.
Efforts CONTINUE to ensure public health AND it appears such dedication will continue EVEN in a POST-pandemic era.
For more on THIS ENDEAVOR and other related news I have our Kim Dami here in the studio.
Good afternoon, Sunhee.
Let's start with Korea's RECENT enrollment in a global foundation for vaccine research.
Seoul's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that it's joined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a global partnership to develop vaccines and fight new infectious diseases.
The government has pledged to donate three million U.S. dollars each year until 2022.
Through a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Korea's ambassador to Norway signed onto the partnership with the head of the CEPI.
Founded in 2017, CEPI has funded research projects to develop vaccines against new diseases like MERS and SARS.
It's currently supporting the development of nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including those from Moderna and AstraZeneca.
I understand Korean health authorities have also revised their 'distancing in daily life' guidelines to REFLECT the SEVERITY of the latest outbreak.
Right, this is in line with the level 2 distancing measures that are now in effect in the capital region.
The KDCA once again highlighted the importance of public cooperation in following the guidelines amid daily settings.
(KOREAN - ) (11/25)
"Public cooperation is a must in cutting off transmission pathways of the virus in everyday settings. Since level 1.5 social distancing guidelines were issued in the greater Seoul area on November 19th, mobile phone data shows that population movement fell over ten percent last weekend compared to a week ago."
The new guidelines include an expanded mask mandate, more frequent ventilation, and voluntary self-isolation in case of suspected symptoms.
Indoor concert halls and door-to-door sales offices have also been re-categorized as high-risk public-use facilities.
That's in addition to the previous 9 different types of venues which include singing rooms.
Arcades and logistics centers have also been added to the list of facilities under watch.
Golf clubs, postpartum care centers and lodging facilities will also be monitored.
Elsewhere the foreign media has praised Korea's efforts to tackle the DOUBLE THREAT of COVID-19 and the seasonal flu?
Right. The New York Times on Wednesday praised Korea's success in tamping down concerns related to the country's flu vaccination program.
It credited Korean scientists for quickly determining that a string of deaths among people who had been vaccinated were not linked to the flu shots.
This followed a storage mishap involving millions of doses of the flu vaccine that may have been exposed to high temperatures.
The government temporarily suspended the program to investigate, recalling around 480-thousand doses of the vaccine.
The New York Times praised Korea's health authorities for their transparent disclosure of data regarding the investigation, and for quickly getting the vaccination program back on track.
Elsewhere, Bloomberg published a list of the best places to be amid the pandemic, where COVID-19 has been handled most effectively with the least amount of disruptions to business and society.
Korea ranked fourth on the list for its effective epidemiological response, its development of home-grown test kits as well as innovative solutions like drive-thru test centers.
New Zealand came in first for its quick decision-making issuing lockdowns in the country even before the first death from COVID-19 was reported.
It was followed by Japan in second place.
Bloomberg noted that Japanese citizens were diligent in avoiding crowded places and wearing face masks in public.
Japan's ranking has raised a few eyebrows, considering that the country's daily caseloads have reached record-high levels of over 2,000 in recent days.
Other countries like Taiwan, Finland, Norway and Australia rounded out the top ten.
MEANWHILE over in the U.S. I hear health officials there are looking to SHORTEN the quarantine period related to COVID-19?
Right, federal health officials may shorten the recommended 14-day quarantine period for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19.
They say it's part of efforts to make their guidance more palatable to the public and improve compliance.
An anonymous federal official told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the agency is always reviewing its guidance and recommendations to reflect new discoveries and understandings of COVID-19.
The official added that the change will be announced "when appropriate."
The CDC currently advises people who may have been exposed to the virus to isolate themselves for 14 days to avoid infecting others.
South Korea, in the meantime, has given no indication that it will change its current 14-day quarantine period.
Thank you as always for the coverage Dami.