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S. Korean health authorities remain skeptical over easing social distancing measures
Updated: 2021-01-15 03:54:20 KST
COVID-19 vaccinations will start next month in South Korea and the government aims to finish inoculations by September.
The government and the ruling Democratic Party said Thursday during a meeting that they are targeting herd immunity by November meaning that by then, at least 70 percent of people in South Korea would have formed immunity against the virus.
When the rollout starts, the government will inform people when and where to get their vaccinations through a smartphone application.
In the same meeting, officials highlighted the need to reassess the current social distancing guidelines to safeguard the livelihoods of small business owners now that the number of newly confirmed cases is decreasing.
The number of newly confirmed cases in South Korea has been lower than 600 for three consecutive days.
On Thursday, 524 new cases were reported.
But the health authorities, who have the final say on the readjustment of any social distancing measures, see the decrease to be gradual and is concerned about a possible resurgence if social distancing measures are loosened.

"The resurgence of cases during the third wave lasted for more than one and a half months. Any decrease would have to last longer than that to call the management and containment successful."

Currently, health authorities believe the current social distancing measures should continue until next month beyond Korea's traditional holiday, Seol, and until when vaccinations begin.
Adjustments to the social distancing measures are to be announced this week as the current level 2.5 guidelines are due to end on Sunday.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.
Reporter : yoohong@arirang.com