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S. Korea's ruling party, gov't evaluate vaccine status, vaccination plan Updated: 2021-01-14 10:52:28 KST

Our top story this afternoon
Officials from the South Korean government and the ruling Democratic Party gathered at the National Assembly earlier to thrash out the country's highly-anticipated COVID-19 vaccination plan.
For more,. we have our Hong Yoo on the line.
Health authorities previously announced the vaccine roll-out will start in South Korea next month.
Is that still the plan?

Mark, the government and the ruling party stressed they are doing all they can to make sure the vaccination program proceeds as previously announced.
They have targeted herd immunity by November or even earlier, meaning that, by then, 70 percent of people in South Korea will have been inoculated and our daily lives should be back to normal.
During the meeting, the ruling party's floor leader Kim Tae-nyeon said the Korean model of disease quarantine efforts will now shift to vaccination and treatment.
He added they are currently working on a roadmap for the inoculation process under three principles: safety, fairness, and transparency.
The inoculations are not the only concern, but also the management of any possible side or after effects caused by the vaccines.
Decision making on inoculation priority groups to vaccine safety will be shared transparently to try and stem any public mistrust.
One new possibility introduced by the ruling party's leader Lee Nak-yeon was that COVID-19 treatment should be free in South Korea, just like the vaccines will be.

A review is going to take place this weekend on possibly revising the tight social distancing guidelines that have been in place for weeks now.
Was that raised during the meeting?

Yes, Mark. The number of newly confirmed cases in South Korea has been decreasing and has been lower than 600 for three consecutive days now.
Today, South Korea's health authorities reported 524 new cases.
Health minister Kwon Deok-cheol said the decrease is quite gradual.
He noted that transmission is still an issue among individuals going about their daily routines.
But officials are working on readjusting the measures to safeguard the livelihoods of small business owners.
Businesses that have been banned from operating until the end of social distancing stage 2.5 on Sunday, such as gym owners, have been protesting what they say is the irrationality of the government's system.
The government is expected to make the official announcement on the social distancing measures on Saturday.
Back to you, Mark.
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