It's officially summer here in South Korea and that means people are getting ready to travel and see friends during their vacation.
The downside of this is that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn't seem to be over yet.
With a jump in daily infections recently, concerns mount over a resurgence.
The situation doesn't seem to be reassuring when it comes to Monkeypox either, as the virus grips many parts of Europe.
So, should we be worried about another spike in new COVID-19 infections? And what can we do to stay healthy this summer?
For this, we are joined via Skype by Sanjaya SENANAYAKE , Associate Professor, and Infectious Disease Specialist
at the Australian National University Medical School of Health and Medicine, and Dr. Alice TAN, M.D., Internist at MizMedi Women's Hospital.
Good evening, thank you for joining us.
(Senanayake) 1. So first, Professor Senanayake, like we've heard from our reports, COVID-19 cases in South Korea are on the rise. The situation in Australia also seems to be concerning with over 30,000 cases daily. What do you think is the reason behind the latest resurgence, and do you think infections could rapidly multiply again?
(TAN)2. Now Dr. Tan, what would be your biggest concern if we see a rapid resurgence across the globe? We are more than 2 years into the pandemic, do you think we should be better prepared?
(Senanayake) 3. Since you're in Australia, it's currently winter over there, and we hear that the number of flu patients in May more than doubled pre-pandemic levels. What's the reason behind this?
(Sanjaya) 4. How do you see the chances for a "twindemic" between COVID and flu? And what's Australia's current regulations on vaccinations? How is the country preparing for another crisis?
(TAN) 5. Now coming back to Korea, another factor behind the resurgence could be that the level of immunity from a third shot is slowly fading.
We've been hearing that the effects of the vaccine slowly fade after around four months or so.
Dr. Tan, is a second booster (or fourth shot) likely? Will it be necessary to get a fourth shot? Will it be as effective?
(TAN) 6. Speaking of vaccines, South Korea last week approved the use of SKYCovione, the country's first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine developed by SK Bioscience.
What significance does this have? And how different is this vaccine from those that have been imported?
(Senanayake) 7. Now turning to monkeypox, The Lancet has reported that the symptoms of Monkeypox detected in Britain are quite different from the symptoms detected by patients in its country of origin. Could this mean that the disease has evolved like COVID? What can be done?
(TAN) 8. With more people expected to travel overseas during the summer season, concerns mount over an influx of more monkeypox cases to the country.
The WHO says some 5,000 cases have been detected in 31 countries. South Korea has also seen one case.
How much should we be worried about a rapid surge in cases?
(TAN) 9. If the virus has mutated, as far as what's been revealed, the way to get infected with monkeypox is through sexual contact amongst men, could this also change? And what other ways could the disease be transmissible?
(Senanayake) 10. At this point, is there a cure or perhaps a vaccine to prevent monkeypox? How far along are we in the development process?
Alright, thank you both for your insights we appreciate them.