S. Korea to announce new social distancing measures on Friday
Updated: 2021-10-15 05:33:00 KST
Local authorities will soon be releasing a new set of social distancing guidelines to take effect from next week.
The popular opinion is that they will be the same as the current measureswith a few vaccine incentives sprinkled in.
For more on this and other COVID-19-related updates, joining us live in the studio is our reporter, Shin Ye-eun, good morning
We're expecting authorities to reveal these new social distancing measures.
It is kind of under wraps, but tell us what we know so far.
What we know is that these are probably going to be the last distancing measures before we head into the new COVID-19 exit strategy in November.
Next month, the "living with COVID-19" system will kick off where authorities focus on the number of deaths and patients in critical condition rather than the number of daily cases.
So Friday's guidelines will work as a bridge for the country to smoothly transition to this new system.
Most watchers expect the current four-tier distancing scheme to remain.
Meaning the greater Seoul area will continue under the toughest levellevel fourand non-capital regions under level three.
While the distancing scheme may stay the samevaccine incentives might be introduced.
As of now, those who have been fully vaccinatedmeaning at least two weeks have passed since their second jabs, or a single-dose Janssen vaccinewere able to enjoy some incentives in social gatherings.
In the greater Seoul area only two people were allowed to meet after 6pm.
But this number could jump to six as long as four are fully vaccinated.
From next week, this cap could go up to eight if vaccine incentives are added.
Authorities have also hinted at extending business hours at movie theaters or study cafes from the 10 pm LIMIT to midnight.
We have to see whether authorities will apply them for two weeksor maybe even threebefore the set date to transition to the "living with COVID-19" system on November 9th.
Before moving on tell us what November's new COVID-19 exit strategy looks like.
Based on what the committee for "living with COVID-19" strategy said on Wednesdaydistancing measures will be eased based on vaccination rates.
On Thursday, a health official backed up this idea.
He said if South Korea were to pass the 85 percent vaccination mark quarantine measures like wearing masks wouldn't even be needed to fight off, (per se) the highly contagious Delta variant.
"Once we finish inoculating 85 percent of the population our herd immunity threshold would reach 80 percent. Theoretically we would then be able to contain the Delta variant without masks, bans on gatherings or restrictions on business hours."
South Korea is showing rapid progress in terms of vaccination rates.
It's on the brink of reaching its 70 percent goalin around 10 days.
Authorities say thanks to high vaccination ratesthe number of daily infections will steadily go down.
We're already starting to see that. Friday's COVID-19 figure is expected to be lower than yesterday
That's right, Mark.
From midnight to 9 pm on Thursday, 1-thousand 5-hundred 12 infections were confirmed.
That's 3-hundred 20 fewer than the same period the previous day.
Hopefully the number of new infections stays low over the weekend.
Meanwhile, South Korea is not the only country showing progress.
The United States is showing some advancement dealing with COVID-19. Tell us more.
The U.S. has been trying to enforce vaccine mandates for federal workers and big companies.
And President Biden said Thursday that his plan has been working because the COVID-19 case rates have since been declining in 39 states.
Here's what he said.
"It's working. We're making progress. Nationally, daily cases are down 47 percent Case rates are declining in 39 states, and hospital rates are declining in 38 states. We're down to 66 million, still unacceptably high number, of unvaccinated people, from almost 100 million in July."
The President's comments came a day after the country's top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said vaccinations will further contain the virus especially since experts found there won't be a more dangerous or contagious variant than Delta.
The U.S. crossed another major milestone Thursday when a panel from the FDA voted to recommend Moderna booster shots for emergency use authorization.
The panel, called the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, unanimously voted in favor of authorizing the shots.
Now the final decision is in the hands of the FDA.
If they approve it, the final ruling will be made by the CDC, which is scheduled to meet next week.
Thank you for your reports throughout the week, Ye-eun.