South Korea has been reporting record jumps in daily Covid-19 cases in the last two days with the virus tally at 343 today, the highest number since August as cluster infections continued to emerge from offices, medical facilities and small gatherings, prompting authorities to tighten social distancing rules.
“There is currently a large wave underway around the world and no sign of slowing down. As of mid November, we are seeing 600-thousand new cases on a daily basis, globally. This is double the amount from that of September and six times that of May. Such trend is not limited to any one country, but commonly seen in most countries in the Northern Hemisphere. We believe that it’s more of a seasonal factor leading the spread of respiratory diseases.”
Effective midnight, the infectious disease guidelines in the greater Metro area has been raised to 1.5 on the five tier system. But, is this enough? Are we heading into a third wave that health experts had been warning about and what do the unexpected breakthrough in vaccine development mean?
Let’s talk about it.
Joining me live in the studio is Dr. Jung Ki-suck, Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital. Dr. Jung was formerly the director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We’ve been struggling to contain small, cluster infections here and there, but today, the daily virus tally reported at 343 nationwide.
Are we heading into a third wave? Are there any noticeable difference in transmission pattern that you’re taking note of?
Between local transmissions and imported cases, which are you more worried about?
And, how are we doing with critical care units and hospital beds?
Having seen the biggest daily jump in nearly three months today, is level one.five social distancing enough to bring the case numbers down?
As a medical expert, what do you think? I remember last time we peaked at over 4-hundred, we went to level two point five.
The latest surge in Covid numbers in South Korea may also be evidence of how difficult it is to tackle the coronavirus, keep it under control, and try to spur the economy at the same time. Because as health authorities struggle with the jump in virus tally in 200s and 300s today, the government’s spending booster campaign is still very much underway. They’re still offering 30, 40 dollar discount vouchers from hotel bookings to encourage getaways, you get discounts on your fourth meal out This coupled with raising social distancing leaves the average citizens very confused. Help us understand.
The country kicked off a two-week long special quarantine period leading up to the annual college entrance exam day on December 3rd.
That’s when 500-thousand high school seniors will take a 9-hour college entrance exam at over 13-hundred exam sites across the nation.
It’s been a difficult year for the balancing of health and education I’m sure there are many parents and students who are not only nervous about this exam but also worried about virus safety, as well.
How do you see us getting through these next two weeks?
Is it safe to carry out an exam which requires a group of students to be in an enclosed space for an extended period of time? What are some safety measures students and exam proctors should take?
Let’s talk about vaccines. Following the release of more data from its Covid-19 vaccine Phase 3 clinical trial, the drugmaker Pfizer said it expects to apply for emergency use authorization “within days.”
Moderna also said it aims to submit an application in the coming weeks. What do these mean?
How soon can the average person be vaccinated against Covid-19?
As countries race to secure enough doses to vaccinate their population, the South Korean government said yesterday that they are close to finalizing purchase negotiating with international bodies and pharmaceutical companies and that they will unveil their vaccine purchase timeline later this month.
South Korea has set a goal of vaccinating 30 million people for the coronavirus by next year.
The day Moderna announced its 95 percent efficacy rate for its Covid vaccine candidate, I saw the UK government being slammed by its local media for not having Moderna’s Covid vaccine in one of its five pre-ordered list, BUT in one of the few remaining drugmakers that were still in purchase negotiations with.
Is South Korea behind other countries in securing vaccines?
Despite an inspiring effort by biopharmaceutical companies to produce promising candidates with high measures of protection, Bill Gates said what he fears is a “dysfunctional” approach to distributing Covid-19 vaccines.
Could you explain to us what the billionaire philanthropist means by this.
Realistically speaking, Dr. Jung, is it safe for people to travel across countries at this time? When will we be able to start traveling freely again?
Dr. Jung Ki-suck, Professor of Medicine at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital and former Director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many thanks as always for your insights. We appreciate it.

Reporter : jenmoon@arirang.co.kr

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