We start with the latest on the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
Despite a dip in the number of number of confirmed cases, local health authorities are on alert over a potential uptick in new infections as we move deeper into the week.
For more, joining us live in the studio is Shin Ye-eun, good morning.
Let's start with the daily figure forecast for Tuesday. The exact tally has not come out, but what are the authorities estimating?
Well we're expecting to see numbers stay below 2 thousand.
And maybe even as low as the 13-hundreds.
From midnight to 9pm yesterday, a total of 1-thousand 2-hundred 74 cases were reported.
That's 2-hundred 41 cases LESS than at the same time the previous week.
Among local infections, over 72 percent were from the Greater Seoul area.
Now Tuesday's caseload will most likely have dropped compared to last week, when daily figures frequently surpassed 2-thousand.
But authorities have warned that this number could easily go up this week following the three-day weekend.
Right, we cannot forget that we've JUST wrapped up another three-day weekend.
Last week, after the country also had a long weekend, the reported daily tally quickly jumped from the 15-hundreds to the 2-thousands.
That's because during the weekends, not a lot of people visit COVID-19 test centers.
Authorities also expected many to have travelled across the country to enjoy the long weekend.
That's why they said they would have to carefully monitor for a likely uptick in COVID-19 cases this week that would show just how much the virus spread across the country over the three-day weekend.
Moving on to the vaccination front. We hear seven out of 10 people in South Korea have now received at least one COVID-19 jab?
That's right. South Korea on Monday saw 40 million vaccinated with their first vaccine shot.
The country achieved this major milestone just 228 days after vaccinations began.
As for the adult population, more than 90 percent have received at least one jab.
Ye-eun, we're also hearing South Korea will be administering booster shots from today. Who will be the first to receive them?
Medical workers will be the first in line to receive booster shots.
To give you more details, some 45-thousand medical staff that have worked on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 are eligible.
Most of them actually received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine back in March and April.
So their booster shot will be a Pfizer shotwhich they can receive by October 30th at the medical facility they work for.
Next up will be seniors aged 75 and up, or those who work at relevant facilities like nursing homes…and received their first jabs from April.
This aligns with the WHO's recent recommendation that people with weakened immune systems should be given a booster shot.
A panel of WHO vaccine advisers called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization specifically cited people over the age 60 who have been inoculated with Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac should especially get an extra shot because studies in Latin America showed that they did not perform as well over time.
Aside from the vaccines another major development is the potential introduction of oral medications for COVID-19. Merck has requested emergency use authorization from the FDA. Tell us more.
Right, we've now entered a phase in the pandemic where we need to think of living with COVID-19. That's why drug makers around the world are trying to develop COVID-19 pills.
Representatively U.S. drug maker Merck has developed an antiviral pill called "molnupiravir."
On Monday, Merck asked U.S. regulators to authorize its pill for treating patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections.
If approved, it would become the first oral medication for COVID-19.
Now Merck has stated that its vaccine lowered the rate of hospitalization and death by 50 percent
We hope to see some further progress on COVID-19 vaccine and pill development soon.
Thank you for your report. Ye-eun.