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S. Korea reports 1,940 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, vaccination rates picking up pace Updated: 2021-10-14 09:40:29 KST

We start with the latest on the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
The number of new COVID-19 cases is ticking up.
But, vaccination rates are also rising, putting South Korea on the brink of reaching its 70 percent goal earlier than expected.
For more on this and other COVID-19-related updates, joining us live in the studio is our reporter, Shin Ye-eun, good afternoon

Good afternoon.

Let's start with the daily tally. How many new COVID-19 infections were reported today?

On Thursday a total of 1-thousand 9-hundred 40 cases were confirmed.
This was a big jump from the day before when the caseload was in the 15-hundreds.
All but 16 cases were locally transmitted of which more than 80 percent came from the greater Seoul area.
This is the 100th day in a row that the daily COVID-19 figures have been in the thousands.

While we are seeing a slight uptick in new cases we're also seeing vaccination rates pick up speed. How many people have been vaccinated in Korea so far?

The majority of the population have received both jabs.
To give you exact numbers, 60.8 percent of the total population are considered fully vaccinated.
Vaccination rates have really picked up pace since July, when only 10 percent had received both jabs.
South Korea has expanded vaccinations by nearly 50 percent in just a few months.

That alone is a major achievement in October. Based on the current projections, it seems vaccination rates are likely to continue to rise in the coming weeks.

You're absolutely right.
Authorities believe that if vaccinations continue at the current pace, then the country could reach a vaccination rate of 70 percent within the next two weeks.
Take a listen.

"We expect vaccination rates to surpass 70 percent in the week of October 25th. We'll do our best to reach this rate even sooner."

Although Korea would be crossing the 70 percent vaccination mark much quicker than expectedauthorities are still trying to speed up the process.
Because they want to start GRADUALLY easing restrictions in November.
So on Friday, authorities will announce what are believed to be the last social distancing measures before heading into the government's "living with COVID-19" strategy.
These measures take effect on Monday, and will most likely last for two weeks.
Many are expecting either an extension of the ones they're implementing now or potentially some forms of vaccine incentives.

Speaking of these incentives. Countries with these have seen quite a lot of success. Tell us more about what other country's vaccine incentives look like.

In the case of the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security said on Wednesday that the U.S. will reopen land borders with Mexico and Canada to fully vaccinated travelers from November some 19 months after they were closed.
They have been curbing travel from Mexico and Canada since March 2020.
We can evaluate this as one of the many efforts the Biden administration has taken to try and boost vaccination rates.
As of now, around 56 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.

In Singapore, which has so far inoculated 83 percent of its population.
only the vaccinated are now allowed to drink and eat at coffee shops and restaurants.
Those that haven't been vaccinated can only order take-out food.
They'll also be restricted from visiting shopping malls.
These measures took effect from Wednesday but a grace-period will be applied over the next week.

Now, we've gone over countries with relatively high vaccination rates, but others are lagging behind, especially many countries in Africa, and this is causing concerns.

Right, in the case of Africa
Only 7 percent of the continent's population has received a single dose.
That's why the director-general of the WHO asked countries to refrain from using booster shots until more of the world gets at least one jab.

Getting the global vaccination rate up is definitely important to stop this virus. Thank you for your report, Ye-eun, and we'll speak to you tomorrow.
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