Daejeon to enforce strongest virus curbs from Tuesday

Despite quasi-lockdown, virus spread continues across Korea
Medical workers administer COVID-19 tests to visitors at a screening facility in Gangwon Province on Sunday. (Yonhap)Reporting over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the 19th consecutive day Sunday, Korea is struggling to contain a stubborn fourth wave of infections even with the stiffest social distancing measures.

The number of newly confirmed cases amounted to 1,487 in the 24 hours ending Saturday at midnight, marking the highest number of daily infections reported on a weekend since the coronavirus outbreak early last year.

With a surge in the number of virus infections in the Greater Seoul area earlier this month, Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon have been put under the highest level of social distancing rules since July 12.

Despite the Level 4 measures banning gatherings of more than two after 6 p.m. and forcing restaurants and cafes to close after 10 p.m., the Greater Seoul area has struggled to curb the spread of the virus.

Last week, the government announced that the toughest distancing guidelines in the capital region will be extended for two more weeks through Aug. 8.

“The goal of the extension of social distancing is to reverse the increasing trend (in the number of infection cases in the Greater Seoul area) and bring down the figure to under Level 3 standards,” Lee Ki-il, a senior official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said in a briefing Friday.

“If these goals are not achieved within two weeks, we will consider stronger quarantine measures such as prohibiting gatherings at facilities and tightening limits on operating hours.”

In the meantime, the portion of infections reported in regions outside the capital has become a concern for health authorities.

As of Saturday, more than 30 percent of new infections were reported in noncapital regions for eight days in a row since July 18. In particular, Saturday’s 546 cases observed outside the Greater Seoul area took up almost 40 percent of the total caseload nationwide.

With many on the move for their summer vacations, some of the most popular travel destinations have implemented tougher social distancing measures to prevent the virus from spreading further. On July 19, the local government of Gangneung, a coastal city in Gangwon Province, was the first authority outside the capital region to apply Level 4 distancing guidelines.

Meanwhile, citizens aged 55 to 59 will start receiving their vaccines this week up until Aug. 14.

According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, approximately 85 percent of the 3.54 million people in the age group have made their vaccine reservations.

Among those receiving their jabs this week, people in the Greater Seoul area will get Pfizer’s vaccine whereas others in the noncapital area will get Moderna’s vaccine.

But in the case of some 250 medical institutions in the Greater Seoul area that are only equipped to inoculate Moderna’s vaccine, people who have made their reservations at these places will receive Moderna’s vaccine, not Pfizer’s.

For the people aged 55 to 59 who will receive their shots after this week, they will also get either Pfizer’s vaccine or Moderna’s. Koreans do not get to choose which vaccines they want to receive when they make reservations.

As the current supply schedule for vaccines is subject to change, health authorities plan to individually inform citizens of which vaccine they will get sometime in the week before their inoculation appointment.

For those aged 50 to 54, vaccination will begin on Aug. 16. For the age group younger than 50 years old, no vaccination schedule has been set yet.

“We will probably announce the vaccination plan for ages 18 to 49 next week when we release the vaccination plan for August,” said Kim Ki-nam, an official at the government’s COVID-19 vaccination response task force.

“The opening period for (online vaccine) reservation is around mid-August and we will include the specific dates in the August plan.”

As of Saturday, at least 32.9 percent of the country’s population, or about 16.9 million people, have received their first jabs. Among them, 6.8 million, or 13.4 percent of the population, have been fully inoculated.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heradcorp.com)

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


South Korea grants asylum to Angolan family

This Feb. 19, 2019, photo shows activists rallying at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, urging the immigration office to grant entry to Nkuka Lulendo and his family. (Yonhap) The ... Read more »

New cases under 2,000, authorities vigilant over autumn travelers

A visitor receives a COVID-19 test at a makeshift clinic in Busan, 453 kilometers south of Seoul, on Oct. 8, 2021. (Yonhap) South Korea‘s daily new coronavirus cases fell below ... Read more »

More than 30m people fully vaccinated in S. Korea

Citizens are monitored for possible side effects after receiving a COVID-19 jab at a makeshift clinic in western Seoul on Oct. 7, 2021. (Yonhap) The number of fully vaccinated people ... Read more »

Busan's Haeundae Beach loses over 20% of white sand from erosion: data

(Yonhap)South Korea’s best-known Haeundae Beach in the southeastern city of Busan lost nearly a quarter of its white sand area between 2016 and 2020 due to acceleration of coastal erosion, ... Read more »

Seoul raises emissions reduction target

(123rf)The government raised its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, the presidential carbon neutrality committee said Friday. The previous goal was to decrease the level ... Read more »

Prosecutors seek 15-year prison term for airman over death of sexual harassment victim

This photo, taken on Thursday, shows the father of a deceased Air Force noncommissioned officer touching a picture of his daughter set up at the memorial altar in a military ... Read more »

Seoul announces incentives for vaccinated overstayers

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Pfizer logo. (Reuters-Yonhap)Illegal stayers who want to leave South ... Read more »

S. Korea raises level of greenhouse gas reduction goal from 26% to 40%

(123rf)South Korea on Friday drastically raised the level of its greenhouse gas reduction goal from 26.3 percent to 40 percent by 2030, as part of its broader aim to slowly ... Read more »

The many thorny questions of COVID-19 vaccine pass

This photo taken Tuesday shows people waiting inside a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Seoul. (Yonhap) South Korea says that proof of COVID-19 vaccination may soon be necessary for people to ... Read more »

Subsidies needed to address poverty among older adults: lawmaker

(Getty Images)More government support is required to address poverty among the nation’s older adults, a lawmaker said Thursday. According to the most recent data from Statistics Korea revealed by Rep. ... Read more »

[News Focus] Share of Koreans aged 40 or over surges

A view of a Seoul metro station in 1976 when the share of people aged 65 or over stayed at 3.5 percent of the total South Korean population. (National Archives ... Read more »

Starbucks Korea employees stage truck protest over excessive workload

A truck hired by Starbucks Coffee Korea employees stands on a road in southern Seoul on Thursday, carrying a sign calling for the improvement of their working conditions. (Yonhap)Employees of ... Read more »

Umbrella union renews threat to go on general strike

Yoon Taek-geun, the acting chief of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, speaks during a press conference held at its office in central Seoul on Thursday, to announce its plan ... Read more »

New cases in 2,000s for 2nd day, resurgence in wider Seoul worrisome

This photo taken in Yongsan on Wednesday, shows a notice that encourages foreigners residing in South Korea to take a coronavirus test free of charge. (Yonhap)South Korea’s daily new coronavirus ... Read more »

Car accidents involving unlicensed teenagers rise by 34%: data

This file photo, provided by the fire authority of the southern Jeju Island, shows a car that crahsed into a traffic pole. The car was known to have been driven ... Read more »

Delta variant cases account for almost all new variant cases in S. Korea

People stand in line to receive coronavirus tests at a screening clinic in Seoul’s Songpa Ward on Monday, 2021. South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases fell below the 2,000s on ... Read more »

Land development scandal takes center stage in Labor Ministry audit

Signs from lawmakers with the People Power Party (left) ask Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung to undergo special counsel investigation, while ruling party lawmakers denounce with signs (right) that question ... Read more »

Daily cases again exceed 2,000, with breakthrough infections 20% of total

As of Tuesday at midnight, the number of new cases had increased by 2,028 in 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in Korea to 323,379. (Yonhap)The daily ... Read more »

New infections back in 2000s after long weekend

This photo taken on Tuesday shows a shuttered convenience store in Yongsan, central Seoul, amid an extended COVID-19 pandemic. (Yonhap)South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases surged to over 2,000 again ... Read more »

Rotary International holds conference in Gyeongju

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta International Rotary, a nonprofit international volunteer organization, held its 2021 Rotary International President Conference and training session at the K Hotel in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang ... Read more »

9 out of 10 S. Korean adults received at least one vaccine shot

People wait for COVID-19 jabs at a vaccination center in western Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)Nine out of 10 South Korean adults have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, ... Read more »

Environment Ministry's deal with platform service providers could cause monopoly: lawmaker

Electric car charging station in Seoul. (Yonhap)Rep. Noh Woong-rae of the Democratic Party on Tuesday denounced a memorandum of understanding signed by the Ministry of Environment, Kakao Mobility and T ... Read more »

[Seoul Struggles 12] Ginkgo berries, the bane of autumn

Ginkgo berries are plastered and smooshed across a street in Apgujeong-dong of Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, in early October. (Ko Jun-tae/The Korea Herald)Autumn is here, and so are the minefield of ... Read more »

New cases slightly under 1,600 on fewer tests, holiday-linked

This photo taken on Monday, shows a traditional market in Mapo, western Seoul, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Yonhap)South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases fell below 1,600 on Tuesday on fewer ... Read more »

Bali to reopen direct flights from China, Japan, South Korea

An airplane takes off for flight Monday at the Incheon International Airport. (Yonhap)Indonesia’s tourist spot Bali will start allowing direct arrivals from China, Japan and South Korea as a receding ... Read more »

[Us and Them] Islamophobia emerges in Korea

Seoul Central Mosque in Yongsan (123rf)Muneer Ahmad, 47, who has run Islamic Book Center in Yongsan, Seoul, has rarely experienced hatred or discrimination because of his religion or religious clothing ... Read more »

[News Focus] Korea to rank bottom in youth population in OECD

Headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)SEJONG — South Korea is likely to become the country whose portion of the youth population is the lowest among members ... Read more »

KOICA's clean water project in Ethiopia gains international attention

Residents of Gurage Zone in Ethiopia are provided with clean water supplied from the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s official development assistance project in the region. (KOICA)The Korea International Cooperation Agency’s ... Read more »

First booster shot appointments open up

People wait in line to get tested for COVID-19 at a temporary testing center in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)Starting Tuesday, the first appointments for COVID-19 booster shots will open up ... Read more »

1 Libyan national killed in triple-vehicle crash in S. Korea

(National Fire Service)INCHEON — A triple-vehicle crash in South Korea’s western port city of Incheon has killed a Libyan national and injured six others, police said Monday. The accident happened ... Read more »

Fewer tests send S. Korea's new infections below 2,000s

This photo, taken on Sunday, shows a sign calling for keeping a safe distance amid the pandemic, which was put up at a wedding hall in Seoul. (Yonhap)South Korea’s daily ... Read more »

Petition asks NO:EL's father to be stripped of lawmaker post over his son's crime

Chang Yong-jun, better known by his stage name NO:EL, appears at a police station in Seoul on Thursday for questioning on charges of unlicensed driving and assaulting a police officer. ... Read more »

New virus cases in 2,000s for 8th day; holiday-tied virus surge concerning

A COVID screening clinit at Seoul Station. (Yonhap)South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases stayed in the 2,000s for the eighth straight day Sunday, with health authorities remaining on alert over ... Read more »

S. Korea's hope for normalization boosted with positive trial results from Merck

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co ... Read more »

Seoul mayor grilled by prosecutors over allegations of election law violation

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks to a reporter at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office in southern Seoul on Oct. 2, 2021, before being questioned by prosecutors about allegations of ... Read more »

South Korea to maintain current distancing rules for another 2 weeks: PM

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum (Yonhap) South Korea has decided to maintain the current social distancing rules for two weeks from Monday. “Considering risk factors for quarantine, such as the stronger ... Read more »

New virus cases in 2,000s for 6th day, COVID-19 curbs extended

This file photo, taken Sept. 30, 2021, shows the relatively empty tourist hotspot of Myeongdong in central Seoul amid the country’s fourth wave of the pandemic. (Yonhap)South Korea’s daily coronavirus ... Read more »

S. Korea to extend toughened social distancing rules for 2 weeks: PM

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum arrives at an interagency meeting on the government’s coronavirus response at the government office complex in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)South Korea will maintain toughened social distancing ... Read more »

Why Korea is not in a rush to vaccinate kids

This stock photo shows a vial of Pfizer`s COVID-19 vaccine. (Yonhap-Reuters) South Korea is not urging that all children get vaccinated against COVID-19, a stance that contrasts with the one ... Read more »

Korea CEO Summit holds Dokdo forum in Ulleung Island

Clockwise from top left: Park Bong-kyu, Lee Man-eui, Park Hyun-mo, Jang Jun-kyu, Koo Ja-gwan, Kang Hee-gap, Han In-seok, Park Gi-ju, Choi Jin-young, Cho Eun-kyung (Korea CEO Summit)The Korea CEO Summit ... Read more »