With concerns mounting over a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 infections ahead of another three day holiday which begins today South Korean health authorities announced 2-thousand 176 new COVID-19 infections today. All but 31 were locally transmitted.
For more, joining us live in the studio is Choi Won-jong, Welcome.
Won-jong, let's begin with the latest COVID-19 situation in Korea.
Sure, less than a hour ago health officials announced several prevention guidelines for the upcoming three-day weekend.
Now, several things that I would like to mention from the briefing:
First things first the authorities have predicted that many will travel this weekend so they urged the public to take short distance trips rather than long distance trips with larger groups of people if possible.
They also set a prevention period of 5 weeks for fall travel between October 9th and November 4th.
When traveling on public transportation, like a bus, wearing a mask is a must.
If you are at national parks, the authorities also asked businesses to have a one-way walking policy have fewer people in cable cars and also cancel inside educational programs at the parks.
They are also ramping up COVID-19 testing 14 of the temporary testing sites at expressway rest areas will operate for longer hours as well as testing centers at 10 major tourism spots.
Also, this morning they said the country will expand at-home COVID-19 care across the 17 cities and provinces in preparation for a gradual transition back to normal.
It's because the authorities have seen a decrease in both severe cases and the fatality rate.
Turning to the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Korea I believe pregnant women are next in line to reserve their slots for vaccination. Does it start today? Tell us more.
Yes, starting today Friday here around 136-thousand pregnant women in Korea will now be able to book their shots.
Bookings can be made through the KDCA website where individuals are required to input information about their pregnancy.
Actual vaccinations will kick off on October 18thless than two weeks from now.
They will be getting either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
As you know, this has been a very sensitive issue to talk about due to the risks of possible side effects.
BUT health authorities have continued to urge pregnant women to get jabbed if possible.
Switching gears the WHO recently said it's hoping to see 70-percent of the world's population vaccinated at least by the middle of 2022. Tell us more about that. seems quite ambitious to me.
It appears to me that the WHO is asking for global cooperation between pharmaceutical companies and countries with a high vaccination rate.
The WHO said Thursday they have set out their plans to achieve worldwide vaccination stressing the targets of 40-percent of the population of all countries by the end of this year and 70-percent by mid-2022.
The organization also mentioned that fair vaccine distribution is key meeting the goal and eventually seeing the end of the long COVID-19 tunnel.
So the WHO's goal is 70-percent of the world's population vaccinated by next year what about South Korea? When will the country see a 70-percent rate for full vaccination?
So yesterday South Korea's top health official said they are expecting to see a 70-percent full vaccination rate by at least October 25th.
If it happens, health authorities are planning to begin to make the gradual transition to the so-called 'living with covid' strategy possibly easing some restrictions after November 9th.
What's interesting is this is actually the first time the authorities have ever mentioned a start date.
And, my concern is the goalposts might shift if infection rates keep rising after the November 9th date.
That's why for a stable transition health authorities are trying to come up with more adequate ways to treat covid patients at home as well as to improve the current medical system mostly targeting severely ill patients.
Plus, the availability of treatments will be a factor.
They are currently in discussions with drugmakers to secure as many oral treatments as possible.
Thank you for your report. Won-jong.