Korea Faces Protracted Lockdown

  • By Lee Joon-woo, Oh Jae-yong

    July 23, 2021 10:19

    Korea faces a protracted lockdown amid the collapse of the government's vaccination plans as new infections as new infections reached 1,650 as of Friday morning.

    The current lockdown rules for the greater Seoul area and some other parts were extended for another two weeks on Friday.

    Outside the capital, new cases surged to 546 on Wednesday, above 500 for the second day running and the highest since the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic that swept Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province in March last year.

    They made up over one-third of cases across the country.

    Gimpo International Airport is crowded with travelers on Thursday. /Yonhap

    On July 12, health authorities tightened lockdown in the capital region, limiting private gatherings to four people until 6 p.m. and to two after that. When infections began to spike elsewhere, local governments to follow suit, but this has so far had no great effect on the number of cases.

    One reason seems to be that people fled the capital as the peak summer vacation season approaches. Of 161 people who tested positive for coronavirus on Jeju Island from July 12 to 21, 34 had come from elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, Moderna's vaccine that is to be given to people in their 50s here, has proved 83 percent effective against the Alpha variant and 72 percent effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19 even among those who had only been given their first jab, a Canadian study shows.

    But in Korea, people over 50 will not be fully inoculated until the end of August or early September amid a shortage of vaccines, and there is no guarantee that the pace will pick up after that.

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