Hopes are high for a phased return to normality next month AS inoculations have been EXPANDED to COVER MORE age groups AND to ALLOW FOR MORE protection.
However CONTAINMENT remains a CHALLENGE WITH the daily tally HAVING YET to mark a TANGIBLE RETREAT.
For more I have Professor Jung Ki-suck from Hallym University.
Good to have you here again Professor Jung.
I also have Doctor Kim Seung-taek from Institut Pasteur Korea.
Welcome backDoctor Kim.
1) Professor Jung let's begin with your assessment of the current COVID-19 situation here on the local front.
2) Doctor Kim more than half of the country's population has been fully vaccinated and over 77-percent has received one dose.
What can you tell us about the IMPACT of Korea's inoculation campaign on CONTAINMENT EFFORTS?
Also on the vaccination front.
Neighboring Japan has fully vaccinated over 60-percent of its populationagainst COVID-19 AND JUST last Thursday authorities there LIFTED their state of emergency FOLLOWING a new leadership within the governing party.
For more I have William Pesek LIVE on the LINE.
William good to see you again.
3) First up then Mr. Fumio Kishida was elected Japan's prime minister in a parliamentary vote on Monday and he has pledged to make the country's FIGHT AGAINST the pandemic a priority.
Do tell us more.
4) William what has been the public response to the latest political events there?
5) Prior to his departure former prime minister Suga declared an end to the state of emergency in Japan last week AND this past weekend was the first one that Japan got to enjoy following an ease in COVID-19 restrictions.
I suppose there was much celebration?
6) Professor Jung over 60-percent of the Japanese population is fully inoculated and daily infections fell BELOW a thousand this past Sunday after hovering between a thousand and two thousand in recent days.
What are your thoughts on the timing of Japan's transition into life with COVID-19?
7) William what is the general stance among health experts there regarding Japan's exit strategy?
8) Doctor Kim the current prerequisites for transition into normality are vaccination and fatality rates.
Having said that AT WHAT LEVELS do these TWO RATES need to be on for a country to consider an EXIT from pandemic-related restrictions?
9) William countries including the U.K. and Singapore are noting resurgences amid efforts to co-exist with COVID-19.
To what extent are authorities there concerned about a surge in cases given the current ease in restrictions?
All right William thank you for your time and thoughts.
10) Meanwhile Professor Jung what can you tell us about U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck's new COVID TREATMENT pill?
11) And Doctor Kim what can you tell us about the respective and effective uses of both vaccines and treatment pills to allow for normal life amid the pandemic?
12) Professor Jung starting today vaccine registrations for booster shots and for those aged 16 and 17 are underway here in the country.
What MORE has been disclosed about the safety of third doses and doses for young teenagers thus far?