Worries Mount over Post-Chuseok COVID Spike

      September 23, 2021 11:09

      Health authorities on Wednesday warned that the current wave of coronavirus infections could escalate after the Chuseok holiday.

      Lockdown fatigue and holiday traffic have increased the risk of infections spreading as people gathered with their families over the biggest holiday of the year.

      According to government data, traffic increased by 5.4 percent last week compared to a week earlier, especially at night, before the Chuseok holiday this week led to an even bigger surge.

      Vice Health Minister Kang Do-tae said, "There's a possibility that the situation in outside the capital will deteriorate again due to the increased traffic over Chuseok."

      But so far there are no signs of a spike. The daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 1,716 as of Thursday morning, and over Chuseok the number was about similar level at 1,604 on Monday, 1,729 on Tuesday and 1,720 on Wednesday.

      People wait in line to get tested for coronavirus in Seoul on Wednesday. /Newsis

      Meanwhile, the government said that it has struck a vaccine swap deal with the British government. Under the deal, Korea will receive 1 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine from the U.K. this coming Sunday and pay it back in kind in December. This will help the government reach the goal of fully vaccinating 70 percent of the population by late October.

      At the same time, Korea will supply 1 million vaccine doses to Vietnam. President Moon Jae-in made the promise to his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Monday, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

      This is the first time for Korea to supply vaccines to another country instead of financial support.

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