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COVID-19 pandemic in S. Korea is gradually receding due to vaccinations : Health official Updated: 2021-10-19 05:56:17 KST

Let's start with the latest on the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
The country has been seeing a decrease in daily infections over the last few weeks.
It's left most of us wondering if South Korea might've finally turned the corner on the pandemic

Well, we hope so. To fill us in on all the latest, our reporter, Kim Yeon-seung joins us in the studio, good morning

Good morning

So tell us, Yeon-seung, where does South Korea stand in terms of new COVID-19 infections?

As of 9 PM last night, health authorities logged 1,39 new cases.
Tuesday morning's official tally isn't out yet,.. but health authorities are expecting another day with low numbers - just over a thousand.
On Monday morning, South Korea confirmed its lowest number of daily cases in 103 days, 1,50, and Tuesday is expected to be similar to that.

Well, naturally this leads to why. what is causing this downtrend?

Health authorities are connecting dots between the declining infections and the climbing vaccination rate.
Son Young-rae, an official at the Central Disaster Management Headquarters, said during a briefing Monday that it's evident COVID-19 infections are gradually receding.
They've been trying to pinpoint all the factors that could have come into play,.. and they realized the index numbers that point to the frequency of how often people make social contact and how much people go out during the weekend have actually been quite high.
So it's unlikely the decrease in infections was brought by social distancing.
Really, the only thing that was different was the vaccination rates.

Right,.. other countries are also leading successful vaccination campaigns.
Are they also seeing a decrease in infections as well?

Yes, in some, but unfortunately, not all of them.
The UK on Monday reported it highest daily caseload since mid- July more than 49-thousand cases.
Britain has been seeing a 60 percent increase in COVID-19 infections for the past month and they are reporting much higher numbers to other Western countries, despite the fact the UK has vaccinated more than 65 percent of the population.
Some health experts attribute it to the fact that they were relatively early in easing COVID-19 restrictions and slow in rolling out the vaccines to adolescents.
So a lot of children went back to school without immunization and now the country is seeing the result.
Japan, on the other hand, witnessed a rather puzzling success in bringing down its COVID-19 infections.
They confirmed just 232 new cases on Monday,.. the first time in more than a year that the daily count has been under 300.
I'm sure you remember August.. before Japan hosted the Tokyo Olympics, many were concerned because the nation was seeing up to 20-thousand cases a day, as they headed into the Games.
And then almost overnight, relatively speaking,.. they saw this stunning success in bringing the numbers down.
Health experts don't know why yet.
They say it could be the high vaccination rate which is now close to 70 -percent,.. or the social distancing controls which mainly focused on shutting down nightlife,.. or it could be less testing.

So countries are moving at different speeds. Tell us about some nations that have already transitioned to a 'living with COVID-19' stage like Korea is set to do soon and how are they faring?

Well let's start with Israel, the nation that was a poster child for a successful vaccination campaign.
Their "Living with COVID" strategy was highly controversial but they've pushed through with booster shots, vaccine passports, and mask mandates and just a little over a month after peaking in early September, they've finally turned a corner.
Daily infections fell more than 80-percent and severe cases also went down by a half.
Singapore is also dived into "living with COVID" earlier this month,.. despite reporting high numbers, more than 25-hundred new cases on Monday.
Their strategy involves no dining in for the unvaccinated, no more required quarantining for people who came into close contact,.. and more home recovery.
It's too early to say how their strategy will work.

Thank you for that report, Yeon-seung.
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