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COVID-19 pandemic in S. Korea is gradually receding due to vaccinations : Health official Updated: 2021-10-19 10:13:11 KST

We start with the latest on the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
To gives us the details, our reporter, Kim Yeon-seung joins us in the studio, Yeon-seung, welcome.

Happy to be here.

Tuesday's official tally for COVID-19 infections came out this morning and the figure stands at 1,73. Can you tell us more about what this number means?

Yes, all but 25 of Tuesday's caseload were local infections, the capital region's cases took up almost three quarters of all local cases.
For the past two weeks, South Korea has been seeing a gradual decrease in COVID-19 infections.
Last week's average for daily cases is 20 percent lower than that of the preceding week.
Health officials also said that in those past two weeks, the virus's basic reproduction number, has been below zero, which is a clear indicator that shows that the pandemic is now in recession.

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

Well health officials have been trying to pinpoint all the factors that could have come into play,.. and they realized the index numbers that points 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 about by social distancing or less contact.
Rather, they're crediting the high vaccination rate.
South Korea as of Tuesday morning surpassed the 65 percent mark in vaccinations.

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 its highest daily caseload since mid-July with more than 49-thousand cases.
Their high caseload is nothing new.
Britain has been seeing a 60 percent increase in COVID-19 infections for the past month.
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 now infections are prevalent among younger age groups.
Japan on the other hand has witnessed rather puzzling success in bringing down its number of COVID-19 infections.
They confirmed just 232 new cases on Monday.
It's the first time in more than a year that the daily count has been under 300, and a steep drop from the 20-thousand cases that the country was seeing early August.
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.
Singapore also has a stellar vaccination rate, almost 85 percent of their population have been fully vaccinated.
But they've been seeing up to 25-hundred to over 3-thousand daily cases this month.

Right, you mentioned Singapore.
And they have been opting for a "living with COVID" strategy since earlier this year?
Can you tell us a little more on how they're faring with the new policies?

Right so, Singapore started easing their social distancing measures bit by bit since August.
But they've gone back on their policies, scared off by the high caseloads.
The Singaporean Prime minister earlier this month addressed the nation to say that COVID-19 is no longer a dangerous disease and that their lives cannot be paralyzed by fear, because their vaccination campaign has succeeded and they have one of the lowest death rates from COVID-19 in the world.
The country seems determined to press ahead with their new normal lifestyle, and their "Living with COVID" strategy involves no dining at restaurants for the unvaccinated, no more required quarantining for people close contacts,.. and more at-home recovery.
They're also gradually opening borders and expanding the no-quarantine scheme to travelers.
I've mentioned the low viral caseload in Japan, and they're also getting ready to enter the "Living with Covid" stage, through social experiments.
They're slowly opening up stadiums and restaurants in designated areas to monitor the social impact, so that they can fully determine what policies the nation should introduce as they enter the new normal.

Thank you for that report, Yeon-seung.
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