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S. Korea preps return to normalcy as health authorities expect to reach 70 % of population fully vaccinated Updated: 2021-10-21 06:14:06 KST

The number of daily COVID-19 infections in South Korea has been on a wave of ups and downs lately, and the latest figure confirmed as of 9PM last night, was over 12-hundred.
That's a touch lower than the previous night's figure,.. but still 200 higher than what we were seeing at the start of the week.
For more on the numbers and other updates, joining us is our COVID-19 correspondent Kim Yeon-seung. Good morning

Good morning

Is there any reason to believe this uptick in infections will derail the government's planned "Living with COVID-19" scheme?

Well, it doesn't seem like it for now.
Even though the country is expecting around 13-hundred infections for Thursday's official tally,.. this figure blends into the overall downward trend that the country has been seeing lately.
Authorities said Wednesday that they're currently drafting a comprehensive plan so the nation can gradually phase into "Living with COVID-19" from November first.
Authorities are expected to announce specifics sometime this month.
But if there's one thing we've learned two years into the pandemic,is that with this virus you have to expect the unexpected.
We can't rely on high vaccination rates to stave off infections and there's no guarantee the downward slope of COVID-19 infections will always remain that way.
If you look at Singapore, for example, they've already surpassed 80 percent in terms of vaccinations.. and they were very hopeful of seeing an end to COVID-19 restrictions by October 24th.
But unfortunately, their daily COVID tally hasn't gone down despite the high vaccination rates.
In fact, they've been seeing around 3-thousand infections every day, with the tally reaching almost 4-thousand earlier this week.
So Singapore has decided to extend its distancing restrictions, including the cap on gatherings, until late November.
So, I suppose, the best approach for people in South Korea is to remain hopeful, but not complacent.

Right then.. how is South Korea currently doing in terms of its vaccination campaign?

South Korea's top health official says the country will soon have 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
The Commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Jeong Eun-kyeong, said Wednesday the 70 percent figure will likely be reached this weekend or by Monday next week.
And this milestone is important as it was a pre-condition for the resumption of pre-pandemic life.
South Korea's vaccination rate currently stands at 66.7 percent and with the momentum we are seeing, there's a good chance the vaccination rate might even reach 80 percent by next month.

Ok, good to hear. That's South Korea. How about other countries?

The U.S. is greatly expanding its vaccination reach.
The Biden administration is currently prepping to vaccinate millions of children aged 5 to 11.
U.S. officials on Wednesday outlined a plan for vaccinating children and said they've already acquired enough vaccines for roughly 28 million kids.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, says this a step that is critical in curbing the spread.
But as children have different needs compared to adults, health officials thought it'd be best if they were vaccinated in an environment they are familiar with, like pediatric offices in schools.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce its decision some time in November.
The FDA also just authorized booster shots for people who've had the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson shot.
They're also allowing the "mix and match" approach, where people can get a different type of jab from the one they originally had.
This expands the U.S.' booster campaign to include tens of millions more people and gives more flexibility to health services.

Thank you for that report. We'll talk to you again on our midday newscast.

Looking forward to it.
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