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COVID-19 cases to spike further ahead of pandemic exit strategy Updated: 2021-10-28 10:46:22 KST

Now let's take a closer look at the latest COVID-19 developments on the local front especially in light of the recent spikes in daily infections as our Soa mentioned earlier.
I have Choi Min-jung here in the studio.
Min-jung welcome

Thank you for having me.

So I hear the highly-transmissible Delta variant is the dominant player here in the country?

Last week, Korea saw more than 3-thousand 3-hundred variant cases.

And all but one were attributed to the Delta variant.
When taking a look at locally-transmitted variant cases ONLY, the Delta accounted for 100 percent of all infections.
On top of this, Korea has reported a total of nearly 20-thousand breakthrough infections.
This is equal to point-zero-seven-four percent of fully vaccinated people.
Most were in their 30s, and those who got the Janssen vaccine.

I see.
Also health authorities here have reiterated their concerns over a possible twindemic Min-jung?

Right. During a briefing on Wednesday afternoon, officials once again expressed concerns over a potential uptick fueled by a drop in temperatures.

It's almost November, so we are approaching winter, and health experts say it could allow the virus to spread much more easily, than during the warmer months of the year.
On top of that, we're also approaching the flu season, so authorities are not letting their guard slip.
Let's take a listen.

"COVID-19 and influenza are respiratory viral diseases with similar symptoms. When someone with a fever visits a hospital in winter, it's difficult to tell the two illnesses apart. We ask the public to help us by getting vaccinated against the flu as well."

And there's a third factor: Halloween.
It's that time of the year when many young people go out to mingle with friends and let their hair down.

Given the words of caution by authorities hopefully the public will partake in safe and responsible celebrations.
Meanwhile Min-jung what's the latest on the inoculation front?

Seven in ten people in South Korea have been fully vaccinated,.. and most are adults.

But the country is now forging ahead with vaccinations for teenagers as well.
Among 16 and 17-year-olds, more than 62 percent have booked their vaccine appointments, and 28 percent have received their first doses.
For those between 12 and 15, just under a quarter have made their bookings.
As of now, the country has not authorized vaccinations for kids under 12.
Meanwhile, over in the U.S.,.. FDA advisors voted unanimously in favor of approving Pfizer's vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11.

Turning our focus back home, Samsung Biologics on Thursday began distributing Moderna vaccines produced under contract here in Korea.
This is the second type of COVID-19 vaccine to be manufactured AND used locally by Korea.
Some 2.4 million doses will be supplied to the country to vaccinate people in the fourth quarter.

One final question before you go Min-jung.
What can you share with us about efforts on the treatment front?

Well, the government will soon sign a contract to purchase enough oral COVID-19 treatment pills for 400-thousand people.

This is ten times more than was originally planned.
Korea has been negotiating with overseas pharmaceutical companies with the aim of bringing in oral treatment drugs early next year.
The details of the latest agreement will likely be announced on Friday.

Currently, Merck is awaiting approval for its oral antiviral treatment, "Molnupiravir" from regulators in the U.S. and Europe.
The company has also decided to share licensing for the treatment with a UN-backed non-profit organization, to allow more companies to manufacture generic versions.
The licensing agreement is expected to expand access to the drug in more than 1-hundred countries.

Thank you for that coverage Min-jung.

Thank you.
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