S. Korea to consider ‘With Corona’ in second week of Nov.: top health official

SEOUL– South Korea will be able to control the coronavirus enough to consider moving into a phase of “living with COVID-19” during the second week of November, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Thursday.

KDCA Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong said during a parliamentary audit that the country may be ready by the second week of November to shift its strategy from suppressing the virus to managing it while living a normal life with COVID-19, dubbed the “With Corona” scheme here.

South Korea has envisioned the scheme under which COVID-19 is treated as an infectious respiratory disease like the seasonal influenza, with eased distancing being implemented so that people gradually return to normal daily life.

Under the envisioned system, there is no massive quarantine and infection tracing. Patients will also most likely stay and recover at home since symptoms are mostly mild.

Still, the envisioned plan does not mean lifting all relevant public health restrictions, especially the mandatory wearing of face masks.

South Korea is ramping up its vaccination campaign to ensure 70 percent of its population get their second shots before the end of October, and to create herd immunity in November.

A total of 39.82 million people, or 77.6 percent of the population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, the KDCA said. The number of fully vaccinated people stood at 28.5 million, or 55.5 percent.

“We believe 70 percent of the population will complete vaccination during the early days of the fourth week of October,” Cheong said, adding that the With Corona scheme can be adopted around Nov. 9, as it takes two weeks for immunity to be created.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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