South Korea has seen a dramatic decline in new cases of COVID-19 the past several weeks, daily case numbers now as low as they've been in months.
By next week, infected people may no longer be required to stay home.
The country's also going to be working on its own mRNA vaccines, with one hopefully in trials in the next couple of years.
In the meantime, there are reports that a mysterious liver disease detected in children could be linked to COVID-19.
To find out more, tonight we are pleased to welcome our go-to medical expert Dr. Alice TAN, who joins us this evening from Seattle, Washington.
1) From next week, it's been looking more likely that the South Korean government could end the policy of self-isolation for people infected with COVID-19. The current measures are expiring. An announcement is due on Friday. So if the government chooses to go that way, even if someone's infected they'll be able to go about their business. There are opinions on both sides. Ahn Cheol-soo is one who doesn't want to end self-isolation. What's your view, and do you see reasonable arguments both for keeping it and lifting it?
2) The government today announced a plan to support Korean companies in developing vaccines using mRNA technology. One company, SK Bioscience, is near completion of its own vaccine, but that does not use mRNA. The goal is to have an mRNA vaccine in clinical trials within two years. These would not necessarily be vaccines for COVID-19, so what is the goal here, and the importance of promoting this kind of research?
3) Hundreds of children around the world have been diagnosed with a mysterious hepatitis liver disease that's been identified with a certain adenovirus. But there's research suggesting that the severity of this liver disease, which is rare in children, is linked to the virus that causes COVID-19. As far as I know, there has been at least one case confirmed in Korea. First of all, what does this hepatitis itself do and how is the virus that causes it transmitted?
4) What is the research showing about the possible link to COVID-19? Early stages, but what do we know so far?
5) Since the last time we talked, North Korea has finally confirmed its first cases of COVID-19. From the first case last Thursday now to several hundred thousand a day. It's become clear just how vulnerable the North's medical system is. Knowing what we know two years into the pandemic, what does North Korea need to be doing? And if this really is the start of the spread in the North, are they perhaps dealing with a less virulent strain than we were two years ago?