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S. Korea reports 1,266 new COVID-19 cases on Tues; PM says 'vaccine passes' will not be used to discriminate against unvaccinated Updated: 2021-10-26 09:46:42 KST

Staying with the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
As we heard during Yeon-seung's report, the nation is slowly transitioning into the first phase of "Living with COVID-19",. joining other countries that have already started enjoying pre-pandemic lives.
For more on this and other COVID-19 related updates,.. joining us is our reporter Choi Min-jung.
Min-jung, good afternoon.

Good afternoon Mok-yeon.

Let's start with Tuesday's tally. What's the daily figure?

There were 1-thousand 2-hundred 66 new cases reported on Tuesday.

All but 20 were locally transmitted,. with the majority coming from the capital area.
The numbers are a little higher than the day before, but this increase is likely due to the weekend effect, as we tend to see cases increasing as we go further into the week.
With cases expected to spike due to the upcoming Halloween weekend, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum urged authorities to do their best regarding thorough on-site inspections in bars and entertainment facilities.

Right. We've also heard about the blueprint laid out by the government for a gradual return to normal life, but give us a recap.

Yes. So starting November first, South Korea will be under the first phase of three.

For around a month and a half, restrictions on operation hours for almost all businesses will be lifted.
This means restaurants and cafes can operate 24 hours a day from then.
BUT, there are still limits in place for high-risk facilities like bars and nightclubs.
They will have to close at midnight.
A "vaccine pass" indicating that people have been fully vaccinated, will be required for entry into these facilities as well.
The Prime Minister said the pass will be implemented, but stressed it should not be used to discriminate against those who are unvaccinated.

Another big change is the number of people allowed for social gatherings.
A maximum of ten people can gather regardless of the number of people vaccinated.
But in restaurants and cafes, no more than 4 unvaccinated people are allowed.
The finalized details will be announced on Friday.

Right, now South Korea is gradually returning to normal life. What about other countries?

Right now, many are keeping a close eye on Portugal.

The country recently lifted many of its COVID-19 restrictions in a move to return to normality.
Nightlife entertainment facilities reopened, and limits on operation hours were lifted for businesses.
They've seen thousands of soccer fans enjoying games, with a 30-percent capacity limit on sports stadiums now lifted.
Despite the easing of restrictions,.. the country did not see a surge.
Experts say this is mainly due to its high vaccination rate, as nearly 87-percent of the population have been fully vaccinated.

Restrictions are also being lifted in Japan, where cases are starting to drop.
People in Tokyo may now drink and eat in restaurants and bars, without time constraints.
Just last week, eateries had to close early and could not serve alcohol past 8 P.M.

But it's important to remember that cases will possibly hike once South Korea begins to ease restrictions.
Countries that lifted them relatively earlier than the rest of the world,.. like the UK and Singapore, are seeing fresh surges.

What about elsewhere? How is the vaccination drive going worldwide?

Well, the WHO chief says that vaccinating 40-percent of each country's population will be possible by the end of this year.

Though he did stress vaccine inequity in regards to less developed countries, as many have still have not yet received first doses.
A fair distribution seems important at this point,.. to get the entire world back to normal.

Thank you Min-jung for your report. I'll see you again for our tomorrow's newscast.

Thank you.
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