We start with the latest on the coronavirus situation in South Korea.
With more than ten-thousand cases reported over the past couple days, and concerns over the (oh-mee-cron)Omicron variant, authorities will soon announce stronger anti-virus measures.
For more on this and other related updates,.. joining us is our reporter Choi Min-jung, good morning to you.
Min-jung, let's start with the upcoming announcement on strengthened anti-virus measures. What are we expecting?
Yes, Mok-yeon. Officials will be making the announcement in the coming hours.
What's likely to happen is that the government will re-impose restrictions equivalent to social distancing level four.
Sources say the new measures will start on Monday and will likely last for four weeks.
One of the most anticipated changes is the reduction of the number of people allowed for social gatherings.
So in the capital region, the number is likely to be reduced from ten to six people.
Outside the capital area,.. it seems highly likely that up to eight people will be allowed to gather,.. a drop from the current twelve.
Watchers say no more than one unvaccinated person will be allowed in a group in any region.
Another revision seems likely to be made for vaccine passes.
Currently, the passes are required for entry to venues like indoor sports facilities, bars, nightclubs, singing rooms, and public baths.
But it's highly anticipated that the passes will also be required to go to restaurants and cafes.
There were also talks on expanding vaccine passes to teenagers, but because the vaccination rates are still low,.. the measures will likely be implemented early next year.
How many confirmed cases are we expecting today?
Mark,.. we are expecting today's daily tally to remain around the 5-thousand mark once again.
From midnight to 9 P.M. on Thursday, there were 4-thousand 57 cases confirmed.
The number of severely-ill patients and confirmed cases hit an all-time high in the past two days.
We'll have to wait to see if figures for today will once again reach a grim milestone.
Meanwhile, infections among teenagers are hitting record-highs as well.
Over the past week, there were close to 3-thousand 4-hundred cases reported among students from kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools nationwide.
This is up by 2-hundred 50 cases from the week before.
Like we all know, the virus has been spreading quickly since the easing of restrictions in November, but what's making the situation more concerning is the Omicron variant. Give use the latest on that front.
Right, Yesterday,.. I mentioned that there were a total of five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.
But health authorities have confirmed an additional case, making it a total of six.
The child of a married couple who contracted the variant after coming back from Nigeria, was also infected.
We also know that the couple's friend was infected with the variant as well.
But what's worrying is that this person,.. went to work, restaurants, and visited friends before getting their covid test result.
And authorities have also confirmed that more than 2-hundred 70 people have come into contact with the patients.
So it's likely that the Omicron variant may already be spreading in the local community.
But what's less concerning as of now is that, of the five cases, four are asymptomatic cases, while one has a relatively mild fever.
So we are not seeing any severe reactions to the variant so far.
And, from today, strict travel restrictions will be imposed for all travelers arriving in Korea
Yes Mark. Starting today all travelers arriving in South Korea will have to quarantine for ten days.
And this is regardless of their nationality or vaccination status.
People will be required to take three PCR tests as well.
The toughened measure comes as a way to prevent additional in-flow of the Omicron variant in the country.
And it will be in place for the next two weeks.
However, corporate executives, athletes participating in the Olympics, as well as high-ranking public officials will be exempt from quarantine.
We certainly hope this could contain the spread of the variant, anyway Thank you Min-jung for your report, have a great weekend