Gov't Gears up for Emergency Response to Coronavirus Spike

  • By Ahn Jun-yong, Bae Jun-yong, Heo Sang-woo

    December 08, 2020 13:01

    President Moon Jae-in on Monday called for more makeshift coronavirus test stations to open at night and on holiday and bigger drive-through test facilities amid a spike of infections as the weather gets colder.

    They will open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and six p.m. on weekends.

    Moon told officials to mobilize as much available personnel, including military troops and police officers, as support personnel. He made the remarks in a weekly meeting with top officials after the daily number of new cases surpassed 600 for two days in a row.

    A Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said they reflect "a sense of crisis that yearlong efforts in the fight against COVID-19 could have been to no avail" unless the spread of the virus is stopped now.

    Commuters wear masks in a subway station in Seoul on Monday. /Yonhap

    As of Sunday, only 45 hospital beds were left across the country for the patients with severe symptoms. A mere 13 beds were left in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province combined. Korea reported 594 new cases as of Tuesday Morning.

    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said it has signed deals with four global pharmaceutical companies to secure vaccines for 44 million people. But the ministry said there are still "concerns over their safety and efficacy," and some of drug makers are apparently asking to be exempt from liability claims caused by unexpected side effects.

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