Social affairs New gov't gets to grips with pandemic issues

New gov't gets to grips with pandemic issues
Lee Ki-il, the second vice minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, makes remarks during a meeting of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters held at the Sejong Government Complex Wednesday. [YONHAP]
Lee Ki-il, the second vice minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, makes remarks during a meeting of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters held at the Sejong Government Complex Wednesday. [YONHAP]
 
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDC) announced Thursday new recommended vaccination schedules for people who had Covid-19. 
 
First and second vaccinations are recommended to be administered three weeks after recovering from Covid, and third or fourth jabs, once called boosters, are recommended three months after recover.
 
Previously, first and second shots could be taken at any time after recovery. But after having Covid-19, the body has natural immunity for some time, although how long has not been determined.
 
“The duration of natural immunity is not certain, but it is estimated to be around three months,” said Koh Jae-young, head of the crisis communication team at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, on Thursday.
 
The new Yoon Suk-yeol administration held its first Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters meeting Wednesday.
 
The government believes there will be no problem with Korea's medical response if the average number of new cases per day remains less than 100,000. The number of daily new infections has been decreasing for seven weeks in a row, and Korea has had less than 100,000 confirmed cases per day since the third week of April.
 
“We will closely examine and evaluate the four-week transition period that started on April 25 with experts,” said Lee Ki-il, the second vice minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, during the general remarks at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters meeting Wednesday. “Next week, after a comprehensive evaluation, we plan to discuss the timing for entering a period of full normalcy.”
 
On April 25, the infectious disease classification of Covid-19 was downgraded to Class 2, but the government decided to maintain the seven-day quarantine obligation for confirmed patients with a one-month grace period.
 
“With our current medical system and quarantine response capabilities, we conclude we can provide optimal treatment without any major problems as long as the average number of confirmed cases is less than 100,000 per day,” continued Lee. 
 
After social distancing restrictions were lifted, the movement of people around the country has increased compared to before the pandemic. According to an analysis of mobile phone movement data provided by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, individual journeys amounted to 28.25 million last week.
 
In 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic, the number of individual journeys during the same period was 20.95 million. Since the lifting of social distancing restrictions on April 18, the movements have steadily increased every week.
 
 
New confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Korea were 35,906 Thursday, bringing the total tally to 17,694,677. Seriously ill cases amounted to 354, with 63 deaths.  
 

BY LIM JEONG-WON [lim.jeongwon@joongang.co.kr]
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