South Korea recorded more than 500 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours for the first time in about eight months as health authorities struggle to contain a third surge of infections.
The nation has been experiencing a spike in cases since it relaxed stringent social distancing rules last month and to deal with the latest surge, Seoul re-imposed tougher distancing guidelines in the greater capital region.
The KDCA predicts South Korea will continue to see four to six hundred cases per day until early next month yet it is too early to discuss further tightening the distancing rules.
Let's go in-depth.
Joining me live in the studio is Dr. David Kwak, Physician at the Soonchunhyang University Hospital and midway in the show, we'll also be joined by Dr. Alice Tan via Skype.
First, Dr. Kwak, thanks so much for making time for us.
South Korea's cases initially peaked last February and March, with officials reporting hundreds of fresh cases daily, mostly tied to a religious sect.
The second major outbreak came during the summer, and was mostly tied to the greater Seoul area.
Officials say the latest outbreak is worrisome because there are many cluster infections tied to a variety of sources. Why is this the case?
As we mentioned at the top of the broadcast, the KDCA forecast the daily virus tally in South Korea to be in four to six hundred range until early next month. Yet, they say it's too early to discuss whether it's necessary for us to raise the social distancing guidelines.
Last time we saw daily cases of low 400s, the government imposed a 2.5. What makes this situation different from back then?
How are we doing with hospital beds, ICU units, and ventilators?
Let's invite some more perspective. Joining us live via Skype is Dr. Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women's Hospital.
Dr. Tan, thank you for joining us.
What's keeping authorities here particularly on their toes is the fact that we are exactly one week away from what's considered a make-or-break college entrance exam.
How ready are the schools, the test takers and the supervisors for this exam?
Under the most average, the most normal circumstances, test takers and the families go through immense physical and emotional stress ahead of this exam. Now, under these extreme, tumultuous times, how should the students and families and supervisors pace themselves leading up exam day and during the exam to protect themselves and each other?
Dr. Tan, we've been seeing a rapid rise in daily Covid cases despite having tightened the distancing measures in the greater capital area. And to be honest with you, there seems to be widespread complacency that continues to linger despite the number being in the 500s today.
You're always very frank and crystal clear in providing us with the sharpest medical expertise. What, in your view, will it take to bring back down these surge in cases?
Now, on to the latest in vaccine development. There have been some doubts raised over the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine data. Oxford university has acknowledged error that forced trial to switch dosing regimens. How big of a problem is it and as some critics point out, will it reduce the chances of the AstraZeneca vaccine getting approval from the U.S. FDA?
Dr. Alice Tan, many thanks as always for your insights. We appreciate it.
Dr. Kwak, how is South Korea doing in securing vaccines? Some of us are a bit nervous as there have been reports that AstraZeneca was the one Seoul was in final stages of negotiations with.
Dr. David Kwak, Physician at the Soonchunhyang University Hospital, thank you as always for your expertise. We appreciate it.