It's time now for VIEW POINT and today we assess the pandemic here and elsewhere amid conflicting strategies and situations among countries.
For more I have Professor HOWARD LEE from Seoul National University.
Professor LEE welcome back.
I also have Professor DAVID KWAK from Soon Chun Hyang Univeristy.
Professor KWAK it's good to have you here.
1) Professor Lee what is your assessment of Korea's current COVID-19 situation?
2) Professor Kwak given our status quo then what do you believe would be wise with regard to quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 patients?
((Should they be legally required to quarantine or not?))
3) Professor Lee starting Monday Pfizer's Paxlovid is being offered to teenagers and adults with pre-existing health conditions here in the country.
Previously it was only available to those in their 60s and above… as well as those in their 40s and above… who are immuno-compromised.
What are your thoughts on the EXPANDED USE of this oral treatment?
4) Professor Kwak starting next Monday negative rapid antigen test results will also be accepted when choosing to enter the country.
Currently negative PCR test results are necessary.
How do you respond to this EASE in border restrictions?
5) Professor Lee moving on to the vaccination front.
There is quite a bit of talk about the efficacy of second booster doses.
Where do you stand on this debate?
6) Professor Kwak let's now address the pandemic situation beyond our national border.
North Korea is witnessing an explosive outbreak and pundits believe the situation may spiral out of control.
Do you share this outlook?
7) Professor Lee North Korea is still reportedly rejecting vaccine support and instead requesting treatment options.
How do you explain this stance?
8) Elsewhere Professor Kwak according to the World Health Organization most countries are witnessing declines in their daily caseloads with the exception of the Americas and Africa.
In fact South Africa is noting a dramatic rise in case counts driven by omicron sub-variants which are infecting people who have immunity from earlier infections and vaccinations.
How worried should we be?
9) Professor Lee neighboring China remains committed to its ZERO-COVID strategy despite the global health body's doubts over its sustainability.
What are your thoughts?
10) Professor Kwak staying with COVID-19 strategies.
South Korea's new administration has vowed to take measures based on science.
That being said what scientific basis would be crucial to allow for the lifting of face masks indoors?
11) Professor Lee do you believe Korea is poised to mark a resurgence in the near future?
And if so how severe do you expect it to be?
12) Professor Kwak when do you suppose will this pandemic end?