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'Living with COVID-19': look at first day of gradual transition to normalcy Updated: 2021-11-02 05:46:29 KST

We start with the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
Monday was the first day of the government's gradual transition back to normal life it's so-called 'Living with COVID-19 scheme'.

This means an easing of social distancing rules, including the removal of curfews for certain businesses.
In Seoul and the wider capital region, gatherings will be allowed for up to 10 people, and up to 12 in other regions.

For more details joining us in studio is our Choi Won-jong, welcome.

Good morning.

So we are all eager to hear about how the first day went.

Sure. Like you said, yesterday in Korea was the first day of the living with COVID-19 strategy which gave many people and businesses owners some 'breathing-room'.
Groups of more than four people were excited to be out on the streets and able to hang out past the previous 10pm curfew.
But some people were feeling hesitant about being out late despite the extended curfew.
Take a listen what they have to say.

"I'm actually so used to the 10 PM curfew now, it doesn't feel much different even if it's 'with COVID-19' now.'"

"I think I'm going home at 10PM tonight. I think a lot of are going to be out releasing their pent up energy, so I'm worried about a spike in infections."

Interesting what about businesses owners? They must've been happy to have more customers back.
Absolutely. It has been almost a year since we saw coffee shops and restaurants operate around the clock.
But I do believe there were still worries and concerns over a potential surge.
Take a listen.

"I'm happy that there's no limit on business hours now, but it's hard because we already had to lay off so many staff. This is such short notice. I'm not sure how to deal with it."

And I also should point out that so-called vaccine passes were required for some businesses meaning only fully vaccinated were allowed to use singing rooms, saunas, and gyms.
Some of the businesses raised issues about the fairness of vaccine passes.
But the health authorities said this is inevitable to curb infections among the unvaccinated.

Tell us about the projections for Tuesday's number of new daily COVID-19 cases - we have to wait for another couple of hours for the official number, but what's the estimate?

Just briefly from midnight to 9 PM 1-thousand 3-hundred 23 cases were reported 1-thousand 16 in the Greater Seoul area 307 in other regions.
However, due to Halloween celebrations in some high population areas the figure could change in next coming days.
Also, the Korean health authorities said Monday the reproduction rate of the virus has been increasing currently at 1-point 3 while it was below ONE for the past three weeks.
Now, if the rate goes above ONE it means more infections are expected.
That's a concern.

Right aren't authorities also concerned about the potential for a bad flu season as well?

Correct.
The spread of the flu could be possible this year if things that previously prevented the flu from spreading disappear this year.
The Korean health authorities said Monday the flu spread seemed much lower last year due to strict mask-wearing hand-washing.. and other personal hygiene measures.
However, it's difficult to say whether it will spread widely but the public have been urged to get the flu vaccine if possible.

Won-jong, a lot of people have been wondering if you can safely get the flu shot and COVID vaccine at the same time?

Scientifically, Yes.
Because the flu vaccine and the Covid vaccine are a completely different type of vaccine.
But some experts recommend getting them on separate days. just to track any possible side effects from the vaccines.

Thank you for your coverage, Won-jong.
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