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S. Korean 'Living with COVID-19' plan to first focus on revitalizing hardest-hit local businesses Updated: 2021-10-22 08:42:46 KST

Right so as Soa pointed out with transmissions slowing and vaccinations rising health authorities are poised to push ahead with their EXIT PLAN from the pandemic come next month and for more I have Kim Yeon-seung here.
Yeon-seung welcome.

Happy to be here, Sunhee.

So let's begin with some updates regarding our transition into normality.

Well, until now, details of this scheme were cloaked in mystery.
But Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum gave some hints earlier today about what that plan is going to look like.
He said that they'll start by loosening restrictions for businesses that have taken the biggest hit from COVID-19, and those that present a relatively low risk of virus transmissions.
He has yet to specify which businesses, but we can infer that the plan is going to focus on small and local businesses, as well as those in the travel or cultural sectors.
Actually, some city governments are already taking their own initiative to revive the tourism industry, like the city of Sejong, for instance.
They're bringing back their city bus tours for the first time since July.
But the Prime Minister also warned the public that now is not the time to rush into hasty action.
Take a listen to what he said.

"When we see the experiences of other countries.. it's clear that this situation is a "moment of crisis with hope." It's a challenging task we have to prepare meticulously. We have to carefully take it step-by-step as we head down this unknown path."

More details on this plan are to be announced during a public hearing next Monday.
They'll also be soliciting feedback on ways to ease the social distancing measures while staying vigilant in stopping the virus.

Right.
Meanwhile do tell us a bit more about the Prime Minister's reference to the experience of other countries.

Well, some countries that have already pressed ahead with a strategy of "living with COVID-19" have been seeing a recent surge in cases.
UK cases topped 50-thousand for the first time in three months.
The surge there was partly fueled by a newly-identified variant.
This new strain is a spin-off of the Delta, and it's sparking concern over whether this strain is more transmissible and more resistant to the vaccines than the Delta.
This variant has also been found in Israel as well.
Russia is seeing record deaths and cases, and President Putin has responded to by ordering a nine-day-long shutdown in workplaces.
Singapore's health system is overwhelmed with a majority of their isolation rooms and ICUs filled.
This surge is rather surprising considering that COVID-19 cases worldwide have actually been on the decline for the last seven weeks.
Top WHO official Mike Ryan on Thursday attributed this surge to eased COVID-19 restrictions.
He said that there has been an increase of indoor social gatherings that came with the drop in outdoor temperatures, so these gatherings may have been fueling transmissions.

I suppose the resurgence in the countries that you just mentioned is putting a strain on frontline healthcare workers there.

You're absolutely right.
The WHO estimates that this virus could have killed 80 to 180-thousand healthcare workers between January last year and May of 2021.
Along with this figure, the WHO highlighted the growing vaccine discrepancy between low and high-income countries.
Eight in 10 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in high-income countries, compared to fewer than one in 10 in Africa.
A senior WHO official warned this could cause the pandemic to drag into next year, and it's imperative that vaccines are evenly distributed to health workers in low-income countries as well.

Of course since we are fighting a GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS.
All right thank you FOR NOW.
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