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S. Korea expects daily COVID-19 tally to hover around 1,200 on Monday Updated: 2021-10-25 05:41:52 KST

We start with the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
The country has been seeing a gradual decline in the number of new infections as the government readies to transition the population back to normal life.
However, with crowds expected to gather for Halloween celebrations this weekend, health authorities remain on alert.

For more on this and other COVID-19 related updates,.. joining us is our reporter Choi Min-jung, good morning.

Good morning.

Let's start with the forecast for Monday. The exact tally of new cases doesn't come out for another couple of hours, but what's the current estimate?

Well,.. we're expecting to see numbers hovering around the 12-hundred range on Monday.

From midnight to 9PM last night, South Korean health authorities confirmed a little over 11-hundred cases.
This is some 2-hundred 20 cases fewer than what was reported on Saturday.
Of the locally transmitted cases, more than 80-percent were confirmed in the greater Seoul area.

So we have been seeing a downtrend over the weekend. But I hear authorities are bracing for another potential uptick in the coming days with Halloween on the horizon.

Right. We usually tend to see fewer infections at the beginning of the week, since fewer people get tested over the weekends.

But like you said, what's troubling is what will happen THIS weekend.
Authorities are worried young people will flock to crowded areas like Itaewon and Hongdae to celebrate Halloween.
It's more concerning as people can feel complacent, as South Korea is currently going through a transition phase to "Living with COVID-19".
To prevent another possible uptick, the government is planning to conduct intensive inspections from Wednesday to next Tuesday.
This will be done during the night at bars and entertainment facilities in Seoul.

Let's hope there isn't another spike. Now to some good news, South Korea reached another vaccination milestone over the weekend

That's right. The number of fully vaccinated people reached 70-percent on Saturday.

This milestone is significant as it was a pre-condition for resuming pre-pandemic life.
Although South Korea was a late starter in terms of the vaccination drive, it took just 8 months to reach this mark.
The country outpaced or closely approached the completion rate of other major economies that started their respective vaccination drives much earlier than Korea.
Health authorities are expecting 75-percent of the population to have been fully vaccinated by the end of this month.

That's good news. Now that the country has achieved its vaccination goal required for the resumption of normal life, we hear the government will tell us what to expect for the country's pandemic exit plan.

Yes, the government will hold a public hearing in the coming hours on plans for "Living with COVID-19".

Though it's not finalized,.. they will be unveiling a blueprint at 2 P.M.
The finalized plan will be announced on Friday and the measures will very likely be implemented from November first.

I'm looking forward to getting back to normal life as soon as possible. While the plan is not completely fleshed out, what restrictions are likely to be lifted?

What is likely to change is the operation hours for restaurants and cafes.

Watchers are expecting the government to completely lift restrictions on business hours for these facilities.
And also in line with the transition, the government plans to allow the use of discount coupons for dining out, sports activities, travel, and other cultural activities.
Authorities have also announced that operation hours for public transportation will go back to normal.
Starting Monday, most subway lines and buses in Seoul will operate normally.
The operation of public transportation was reduced by 20-percent after 10 P.M., since the fourth wave broke out.

Thank you Min-jung for your report. I'll see you again for our newscast at noon.

Thank you.
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