Dear honorable citizens of Seoul,
COVID-19 still wreaks havoc.
The number of new confirmed cases in Seoul surged to 375 on Jun. 29 and continued to record 300s for a week except for one day.
And as of Jul. 6, new confirmed cases hit the roof at 583, which is a historic record since COVID-19 broke out. This is beyond the highest of 552 back in Dec. 24, 2020.
We are faced with the worst crisis since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding to that, the strongly transmissible delta variant spread is raising concerns.
It is time for us to once again garner our endurance and effort to make sure our year-plus-long fortified COVID-19 protocol based on your sacrifice and endurance does not collapse.
I urgently ask for your participation and cooperation.
I urge everyone to comply with the disease control and prevention guidelines, such as wearing masks, refraining from going out, gathering with others, for a while. If you suspect an infection, please visit a screening clinic and get tested.
The SMG will do everything possible to prevent resurgence to make sure all your sacrifice and perseverance will not be in vain.
The SMG will focus on the following three capabilities—disease prevention and control, testing, and vaccine treatment—going beyond the central government’s extended social distancing measures and implementing effective COVID-19 protocol.
First, the SMG will carry out preemptive testing to owners and employees of private academies, restaurants, cafes, karaoke rooms and Internet cafes.
As confirmed cases are rising recently among the young population, the SMG will conduct preemptive tests to find out hidden cases based on places frequented by the young.
Second, the SMG will expand the number of temporary screening clinics to reinforce its testing capability.
The SMG will additionally install temporary screening clinics in each of the 25 districts at accessible areas, such as Seoul Plaza, Gangnam Station and Gupabal Station, to scale up the number by twofold from 26 to 51 clinics.
The SMG will also expand its on-site screening clinics by twofold from 4 to 10 locations. More clinics will be installed in places where there is a high floating population of young visitors, such as Garak Market, Gangnam Station, Daechi-dong, Hongdae, Nowon, Yangcheon’s private academy streets, Itaewon, Cheonggye Plaza and Guro Digital Complex.
Third, the SMG will secure 2,000 more beds in community treatment centers (CTC) so that patients can be hospitalized as soon as possible.
Currently, the SMG has secured 2,621 beds in 15 CTCs with an operation rate of 71%. Starting today on Jul. 7 with 177 more beds, the SMG has secured 704 beds in total with 250 and 277 more delivered by Fri, Jul. 9 and Mon, Jul. 12. respectively. By next week, the SMG will have secured 2,000 additional beds.
Fourth, the SMG will secure enough beds in nationally-designated treatment hospitals to alleviate the burden of the public medical system.
Currently, designated treatment hospitals hold 2,144 beds from 16 public hospitals, such as Seoul Medical Center, and 24 private hospitals. As of Jul. 7, there are 1,015 beds in use, which accounts for 47.3%, and 133 beds will be prepared to use in case of emergency.
Plus, 221 beds for severe patient are available from 21 hospitals like Seoul National University Hospital.
Although we do have rooms left as 78 beds which is 35.3% are in use as of today, the SMG will continue to monitor meticulously in case severe patients may emerge.
Fifth, the SMG will adjust the operating hours of public transportation to minimize movement during late night hours.
Subways and buses will reduce its operation after 10 PM starting Jul. 9 and 8, respectively.
Sixth, the SMG has issued an administrative order of no drinking at night after 10 PM in Hangang Parks and 25 major public parks starting yesterday.
The police and districts will work hand in hand to stringently crack down, and violators will be subject to a fine and prosecuted.
Hangang Parks are conducting joint crackdown and monitoring with the district police. The special crackdown team carried out focal inspection until midnight at Gyeongui Line Forest Park, a most concerned late-night drinking spot, yesterday. As a result, many knew about the administrative order, followed the protocol and no inconveniences occurred.
I ask you to strictly avoid drinking outdoors and in public areas prohibited by the administrative order after 10 PM.
Lastly, I urge the central government—swift vaccination is a must to optimize disease prevention and control measures effectively. I call for the government’s effort to secure vaccines to its fullest in scale and speed to expedite vaccination in line with vaccine swap with Israel, the first vaccine partnership with other countries.
Mayor of Seoul