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Authorities ask for higher vaccination participation from teens amid mounting concerns over uptick in COVID-19 figures Updated: 2021-12-09 17:03:25 KST

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum held an emergency ministerial meeting and ordered local governments in the greater Seoul area to upgrade their virus prevention measures to the greatest degree.
The order comes as for the second straight day, South Korea's COVID-19 count topped 7-thousand.
The country confirmed 7-thousand 1-hundred 2 new infections on Thursday.
The number of critically ill patients went up by 17 to reach 8-hundred 57.
There were also 22 more cases of the Omicron variant discovered, bringing the total to 60.

The Central Disease Control Headquarters said if the pandemic worsens, the country could see up to 9-thousand infections per day before the end of this month and even up to 11-thousand cases by early next year.

Meanwhile, authorities urged teens aged 12 to 17 to get vaccinated.
In a briefing on Thursday, KDCA chief Jeong Eun-kyeong cited the growing number of infections in this age category.
From the second week of November to the first week of December, the number of infections per 100,000 was higher for teens than for adults.

But vaccinating teens has been a controversial issue in Korea especially since authorities plan to expand vaccine passes to those aged 12 and above from February.
Many parents have raised concerns about side effects.
So far, little over 34 percent in this age group have been fully vaccinated.
The KDCA chief said vaccinated teens were 100-percent protected from critical illnesses or death from COVID-19.

"In order for our children to safely return to school and for us to continue gradually returning to normal, we ask teens aged 12 to 17 to get vaccinated."

Authorities also announced on Thursday that foreigners who have been fully vaccinated abroad can now register their vaccination status, without applying for a separate quarantine exemption.
If they visit a local health center with proof of vaccination and identification documents they will be able to get a foreign vaccination certificate.
This will work as a vaccine pass and allow them to receive booster shots in Korea.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.
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