We start with the latest on the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
The country is seeing an uptick in cases ahead of the easing of restrictions set to kick in from next week.
And potentially making matters worse;. Korea's notoriously cold winter is steadily closing in.
For more on this and other COVID-19 related updates,.. joining us live in the studio is our reporter Choi Min-jung, good morning.
Let's start with the daily figure forecast for Thursday. The exact tally has not come out, but what are we expecting?
Well, officials are forecasting today's tally to be above 2-thousand.
From midnight to 9 P.M. on Wednesday, South Korea confirmed more than 1-thousand 9-hundred new cases.
This is more than 70 cases compared to the same period the previous day.
Authorities also revealed South Korea's total variant cases for last week totalled 3-thousand 3-hundred.
All but one were the Delta variant.
If you just look at only the domestically-transmitted variants, 100-percent were Delta.
On top of this, South Korea saw almost 20,000 breakthrough infections.
This is equal to point-zero-seven-four percent of fully vaccinated people.
Most were in their 30s, and those who had the Janssen vaccine.
We also hear South Korea's health authorities are on alert for numerous reasons, especially this week. Tell us more.
There are growing concerns over a potential uptick in cases this week.
It's almost November so we are approaching winter,.. which health experts say causes the virus to spread much more easier than it can in warmer weather.
On top of that, there's the upcoming 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 a patient with a fever visits the hospital during the winter, it's more difficult to differentiate the viruses. We ask the public to actively participate by getting vaccinated against influenza as well."
And there's a third factor: Halloween. It's a time when many young people go out to mingle with friends and let their hair down.
Given the various circumstances at play right now, it seems crucial the country re-up its vaccination efforts. How's that going?
Right, the government will announce plans on expanding booster shots this afternoon.
They will likely address plans on giving booster shots to those who received the Janssen vaccine.
As I touched upon before, they currently are the most vulnerable group to breakthrough infections.
They are also expected to talk about whether the Janssen and Moderna vaccines will be added as booster vaccines.
Right now, only Pfizer's vaccine is being used as the booster shot for medical workers and seniors above 60 who received their last shot more than 6 months ago.
The country is also pressing ahead with vaccinating teenagers.
For teenagers 16 to 17, more than 62-percent have reserved shots,.. and 28-percent have received their first doses.
For those between 12 and 15, just under a quarter have made reservations.
As of now, the country is not reviewing vaccinations for kids under 12.
Ok, so that's vaccinations covered. Let's talk about the potential COVID-19 treatments coming on the market.
Sure, the government will soon sign a contract to purchase enough oral COVID-19 treatment courses for 400-thousand people.
This is ten times more than was originally planned.
The government has been negotiating with overseas pharmaceutical companies with the aim of bringing in the oral treatments early next year.
The details will likely be announced on Friday.
Currently, Merck is waiting for approval for its oral antiviral treatment, "Molnupiravir". from regulators in the U.S. and Europe.
The company has also decided to share the license 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 in more than 1-hundred countries.
Well that is a rare sign of generousity from a big pharmaceutical firm so hats off to Merck. Min-jung, great job on your report. We got all the bases covered and you'll be back for our noon newscast with Mokyeon in a few hours. Thanks again.