Starting from next week, private gatherings of up to six people including those fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 jab will be allowed at restaurants, cafes and home in the Seoul metropolitan area. Restaurants and cafes are permitted to operate until 10:00 p.m. In the rest of the nation, up to eight people can meet up with those inoculated. The South Korean government on Friday updated a social distancing plan to extend the existing levels – Level 4 in the Seoul metropolitan area and Level 3 across the rest of the country – by four weeks starting from next Monday with minor modifications to the original. A total of eight citizens including four people vaccinated completely are allowed to gather over one week around Chuseok.
As the government designed a new set of quarantine guidelines with high social distancing levels and relaxing rules given incentives of vaccination, it can be seen as the first step mindfully taken to "With Corona.” With clouds of uncertainty over the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, working-class families are almost reaching financial limitations while health providers are left exhausted to the extreme extent. In response, the government considers shifting from the calculation of confirmed cases on a daily basis to a quarantine system that focuses on critical and serious patients and fatality rates so that lives of South Korean citizens can get back on track. However, South Korea still has a long way to go. The entry into daily lives with COVID-19 a part of them depends on vaccine inoculation rates. As per Jeong Eun-kyeong, commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), the condition for execution is 80 percent of adults fully vaccinated. However, only slightly over 30 percent have got inoculated. Although the authorities argue that a sudden spike of any wave of the pandemic is under control to some degree, it has been almost two months since the daily number of new cases showed a four-digit figure. The upcoming holidays for Chuseok can trigger an additional uptick in the pandemic amid increased travel across the nation. That is why we should stay cautious over the holidays.
The priority for quarantine authorities is to make sure that vaccine supply is on schedule to avoid any disruption in vaccination. Even under the current plan, it will be late October when 80 percent of adult citizens get vaccinated completely. It is only questionable if the government can deal with a pile of social complaints in case of any delay in the timeline. Added to this, swift efforts should be made to make thorough preparations to revamp medical systems for critical and serious patients and design guidelines for self-care of mild cases.
Each individual is requested to have a great sense of responsibility as "With Corona” does not mean that basic quarantine rules are rendered useless and obsolete. It is important to get vaccinated but equally importantly, wearing face masks is the most powerful shield against the virus. "With Corona,” we all should endure a required level of inconveniences for ourselves, our family and neighborhoods.