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S. Korea preparing for switch to 'living with COVID-19' strategy
Updated: 2021-10-13 09:38:38 KST
We start with the latest on the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
The number of new infections is ticking up following the three-day weekend.
For more on this and other COVID-19-related updates, joining us live in the studio is our reporter, Shin Ye-eun, good afternoon.

Good afternoon, Mok-yeon.

Let's start with the number of new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. What's the daily tally?

There were 1-thousand 5-hundred 84 cases reported on Wednesday.
That's slightly higher than yesterday's figures.
All but 13 were locally transmitted.
While Wednesday's caseload dropped from the same time last week, when cases neared 2-thousand authorities say it's important to keep monitoring the situation closely throughout the week because people are just coming back from a three-day weekend.

Health authorities are also set on switching their approach to the pandemic next month so that we can gradually return to our daily lives. A life with COVID-19.
Tell us what the government is doing ahead of those changes in November.

So today, South Korea launched a special committee that'll find ways to gradually return life to normal by November.
Normal life meaning where we learn how to live with COVID-19.resume economic activities go to school and enjoy cuture.
This committee is made up of a mix of government officials and civilians.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum is the chair joined by 40 cabinet-level officials from different ministries and civilians from various parts of the private sector.
So it gives authorities a chance to hear how COVID-19 has affected different parts of society in the eyes of civilians, and gives civilians a chance to pitch specific ideas to government officials.

I hear that the committee has just finished its first meeting held at the Central Government Complex.
What were some main items discussed?

A range of topics were covered during the meeting from the economy, education and culture, to local governments and the medical system.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister said that the country's high vaccination rates have become the basis for authorities to consider returning to normal life.
As of Tuesday, South Korea finished fully vaccinating more than 60 percent of its population.
Take a listen.

"Now that the country has secured strong disease prevention measures and high vaccination rates, we are ready to steadily return to life as normal. But as we've said numerous times this does not mean taking masks off right away."

He also revealed three specific directives the committee will follow.
First, returning to normal life GRADUALLY.
The Prime Minister specifically said that returning to normal does not mean taking off our masks right away.
And the committee mentioned it would consider implementing a "vaccine pass"which is basically a certificate given out to those who are fully vaccinated.

Second, everyone should be included under the new measures.
Particularly those who lost their jobs or the chance to get a proper education amid the pandemic.

Lastly, making the transition to normal with civilians, altogether.
The Prime Minister said the committee would always consider civilians' situations first.

And the committee will be providing a specific roadmap by the end of this monthwhich puts the country closer to its goal of launching the new COVID-19 scheme on November 9th.

And before we head into November, authorities will be implementing new social distancing guidelines.
When will they take place?

That's right.
With the current social distancing measures ending on Sunday, authorities will announce new guidelines on Friday.
These will be implemented from next week.
While they didn't specify the exact guidelines or how the measures will change, they did mention it'll probably be the last set of guidelines before they switch to the new "LIVING WITH COVID-19" strategy. Authorities are also thinking of easing social distancing measures mainly for those who are fully vaccinated.

Based on your report I can see South Korea is building towards its gradual shift to normalcy. Thank you, Ye-eun, and we'll speak to you tomorrow.
Reporter :