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S. Korea might speed up booster shots and apply circuit breaker to prevent critical cases Updated: 2021-11-16 10:53:38 KST

All right Soa thank you for now.
Up next our Kim Yeon-seung joins me with more coverage of the events on the local front.
Right Yeon-seung?

Thank you for having me, Sunhee..

Yeon-seung let's start with the number of severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Well, it's pretty concerning that we have close to 500 critical cases as of this Tuesday.
That's a new record.
That's up from around three-hundred that we saw in September, and there was also a time back in July when the nation saw fewer than two hundred critical cases.
So this is quite the surge compared to figures reported earlier in the year.
And this is starting to take a toll on the nation's healthcare system, especially in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Currently more than three-quarters of all ICU beds are filled in the capital region.

So how are health authorities seeking to tackle this growing crisis?

Well, health authorities did say earlier that they were going to pull the emergency brakes on the further easing of restrictions, if data points to the nation heading towards full-on health crisis.
And one of the warning signs they mentioned is the nation's ICU units filling up to more than 75 percent of maximum capacity.
But this doesn't mean that the country will immediately tighten its curbs, as soon as we hit that mark.
Health authorities intend to look at all the factors in play and will take prudent steps to curb the spread of the virus.
So if they see infections spreading among the unvaccinated, the plan might be to expand vaccine passes.
If authorities see outbreaks centered on social gatherings, they might lower the cap on meetings.
If they feel that certain venues are more vulnerable to cluster outbreaks, they're going to strengthen measures specifically in those areas.

What other measures are being taken to CONTAIN the number of critical COVID-19 cases?

Vaccinations will continue to play an important part, and health authorities are looking to speed up our booster shot campaign.
Many of the critical cases are concentrated among the elderly and those with fading immunity.
So in response, health minister Kwon Deok-cheol mentioned further shortening the interval between the primary and booster doses.
Currently, Korea recommends people aged 50 and over to get their shots at least six months after being fully vaccinated.
And people working at high-risk facilities,.. can get their extra jab as early as five months after full inoculation.
However, health minister Kwon Deok-cheol said that health authorities are currently reviewing the optimal schedule for booster doses, and this could mean top-up shots could be given three to four months after the final dose.

All right Yeon-seung thank you for now but do stay for the broader talks.

Thank you
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