From midnight on Wednesday, most gatherings larger than four will be banned in the South Korean capital Seoul and surrounding areas in an attempt to reduce coronavirus cases over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The announcement by the city government came as the nation recorded its highest daily death toll from Covid on surging infections taking a toll on the health system and prompting police raids on venues suspected of violating social distancing rules.
This as European nations have begun to impose travel bans on the UK after a more-infectious and “out of control” coronavirus variant is reported from that country.
Health authorities in South Korea, meanwhile, are increasingly in the hot seat for falling behind in securing vaccines.

A whole lot of developments on the Covid-19 front. Let’s go in-depth.
We have Dr. Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women’s Hospital and of course, Arirang’s go to medical expert live in the studio.

Thanks for coming in, Dr. Tan.

We met the criterion for level three social distancing many days ago, so I will not ask you whether we are there, yet. The authorities obviously don’t want to raise distancing worried about its economic consequences. So, the city government declared a limit on social gathering that’s even stricter than what’s required under level three separate from the central government.
It is a bit puzzling. What can we make out of this? So, does that mean it’s safe to shop and wine and dine out as long as you’re with a company of three or less?

Not only are we seeing new daily infections in the thousands, but for days, we’ve been seeing double digit deaths. Are you worried about this?

Health authorities say they will add more than 3-hundred hospital beds for critically ill patients by the end of this week. What kinds of medical concerns do we foresee from the delay of adding hospital beds? What happens when critical patients are moved around?

The KDCA Commissioner Dr. Jeong Eun-kyeong said based on the R-naught number, South Korea will likely see 1-thousand to 12-hundred new daily Covid-19 cases this week. How ready are we in terms of treatment centers? Do we have enough treatment centers and enough personnel?

Officials here have announced that South Korea would acquire AstraZeneca-made Covid-19 vaccines by February, March next year. We’re still waiting for the country’s negotiations with Pfizer and Moderna.
We’re already seeing other parts of the world being vaccinated.
Is this good news, in terms of safety and efficacy of vaccine for South Koreans? How are we doing with the timeline?

Meanwhile, more concerning news across the Atlantic. A growing number of European nations have banned travel from the UK in a bid to stop a mutant strain of coronavirus crossing their borders.
What do we know of this variant so far? Why is this variant causing concern?

How much faster is it spreading and how far has it spread?

Does it make the infection more deadly and more importantly will the vaccines work against the new variant?

Dr. Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women’s Hospital and our News In-depth go to medical expert, thank you as always for your expertise and insights. We appreciate it.

Reporter : jenmoon@arirang.co.kr

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