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Level One Covid Restrictions and Mask-Wearing Mandate in S. Korea Updated: 2020-10-13 16:00:07 KST

South Korea reported one-hundred-and two new coronavirus cases today, marking the first triple-digit increase in six days and on the second day under the eased social distancing guidelines to the lowest on its three-tiered system.
Level one distancing and the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
Let's talk about it. Live in the studio with me is Dr. David Kwak of Soonchunhyang University Hospital and later on the show, we're joined by Dr. Alice Tan of MizMedi Women's Hospital.

Dr. Kwak, thanks for joining us.

Daily infections had fallen largely into the double-digit range in the past two weeks, which led the government to relax some rules on social distancing this week.
The second day into the eased measures, the daily virus tally back up in triple digits at one hundred and two.
Should we be worried about this?

The increase was chiefly ascribed to recent spikes in imported cases in line with resurgences in infections around the globe.
Of the 1-hundred-and-two new cases in South Korea today, 69 were domestically transmitted, and 33 imported - the largest portion of them having come from Russia with 14, followed by Japan with five and Nepal with four.
Is there a particular reason why we're seeing an uptick in imported cases and what can we do to prevent this?

Although the official distancing guidance is at level one nationwide, it appears some level two guidelines remain in place especially for the greater capital area.
The government's relaxation of virus prevention guidelines while keeping some rules in place. This could be confusing for some, would it not?

Even with the lowered social distancing scheme that doesn't limit the number of participants in gatherings, religious facilities and sporting events are obligated to keep their seating capacitiy at 30-percent.
While churches have been responsible for major cluster infections, how is keeping seating capacity at 30-percent for places of religious worship and sporting events different from say, crowded cafes?

For more perspective, let's now link up with Dr. Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women's Hospital.
Dr. Tan, great to see you again.

South Korea is mandating the wearing of masks at all crowded facilities, on public transport and at demonstrations, even as the country eases up on coronavirus restrictions.
Anyone who violates the new face-mask policy, which kicks in next month, faces a fine of about 87 U.S. dollars and facilities which fail to follow preventative measures could face closure.
Hasn't mask wearing already become a part of our daily lives and routine?
Why have the health authorities decided to implement this fine now?

Along with mask-wearing, keeping entry logs appears to be becoming the new normal here in South Korea. Last time we were at Covid restriction level one, keeping entry logs at restaurants and bars weren't mandatory. This time around, it is.
Is this how we continue to accept things the way they are and adapt to co-exist with COVID-19?

On the other hand, new guidelines involving nightlife are under much criticism.
Clubs now need to enforce a 10-minute break per hour, or a 30-minute break per 3 hours.
Will this prove to be one, effective and two, enforceable?

Schools and cram schools are all back in session now.
While some are relieved that studies can resume before the annual college entrance exam set for December 3rd, some parents remain concerned.
This is as normal as things have been since the outbreak of the pandemic, but we're still seeing cases coming out of daycare centers and schools.
From a medical perspective, is it okay for us to be at level 1 for schools right now?

Meanwhile, drugmaker Johnson and Johnson announced that it's paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.
Although the company did not say what the unexplained illness was, one point of clinical trials is to find out if vaccines cause dangerous side effects.
How concerning is this latest news as the entire world awaits vaccine development?

Dr. Alice Tan, Arirang News' favorite medical expert, many thanks as always for your insights.
We appreciate it.

A research published in the Virology Journal showed the coronavirus can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods on smoother surfaces and lower temepratures.
Does this mean mobile phones could be a means of transmission? Should we be worried about using our phones now?

U.S. President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19 on October 2nd. Ten days later, he's back on the campaign trail having tested negative on consecutive days.
His physican says Mr. Trump is no longer infectious to others.
Despite being in the high-risk category what do you see into this rather speedy recovery?

Dr. David Kwak, Physician at the International Healthcare Center at Soonchang University Hospital, many thanks as always for your insights. We appreciate it.
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