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Welfare, Health & Security News

  • Reinforced COVID-19 Protocols for Four Weeks (Starting December 6)

  • Welfare, Health & Security News SMG 14769

    (Prevention of local spread) Adjust the capacity limit for private gatherings in order to reduce infection risks through interpersonal contact, such as get-togethers and meetings.

    • (Changes to be applied) (Before) Up to 10 persons in the Seoul metropolitan area, and up to 12 persons in non-metropolitan area regardless of vaccination status → (After) Up to 6 persons in the Seoul metropolitan area, and up to 8 persons in non-metropolitan area regardless of vaccination status
      • * Maintain the existing exceptions, such as cohabitation and care (e.g. children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities)
    • (Date and period) Reinforced COVID-19 protocols will be implemented for four weeks starting on Mon, Dec. 6 (until Jan. 2), and the implementation period will be reviewed according to the infection trends.

    (Strengthened protection for the unvaccinated) Expand the vaccine pass system in order to prevent the spread of the virus through the unvaccinated population.

    • ※ Change the validity period of the vaccine pass from six months (with five months between vaccine doses + a grace period of one month) (scheduled to take effect on Dec. 20)
    • (Restaurants and cafes) Implement the vaccine pass system in restaurants and cafes where it is difficult to keep face masks on.
      • * However, since they are considered as essential facilities, allow up to one unvaccinated person in private gatherings (up to 6 persons in the Seoul metropolitan area, and up to 8 persons in non-metropolitan area) (i.e. 1+5 or 1+7)
    • (Indoor facilities) Expand the vaccine pass program to indoor multi-use facilities including private academies, Internet cafes, and movie theaters.
        * Stores (e.g. wholesale and retail stores, traditional markets, and department stores) are exempt from the vaccine pass program due to the difficulty of enforcement.
    Facilities subject to mandatory vaccine pass program (16 types)
    · (Currently) Adult entertainment facilities (e.g. bars, karaoke bars, night clubs, pick-up bars, colatecs, dancing halls), karaoke rooms (including coin karaoke), indoor sports facilities, bath facilities (including spas), cycling/boat/horse racing facilities, and casinos
    · (Newly added) Restaurants, cafes, private academies, movie theaters, performance halls, study rooms, study cafes, multi-purpose rooms (except for game arcades), Internet cafes, (indoor) sports (viewing) facilities, museums, art galleries, science halls, party rooms, libraries, and massage facilities

    Facilities exempt from the vaccine pass program (14 types)
    · Wedding halls, funeral halls, recreational parks (theme parks and water parks), game arcades, shops, supermarkets, department stores, (indoor) sports (viewing) facilities, indoors sports facilities, accommodation facilities, kids cafes, birthday party halls, exhibition halls, expos, barbers/hair salons, international conferences, academic events, door-to-door sales promotional halls, and religious facilities

    • (Digital vaccine pass) Review the mandatory implementation of the digital vaccine pass system for businesses subject to the vaccine pass program, subsidizing the cost of implementation (KRW 100,000 to 200,000)
    • (Date of implementation) Implementation of program from Mon, Dec. 6 with a grace period of one week
      • * However, review the date for the mandatory implementation of the digital vaccine pass system, and determine later.

    (Prevention of spread among young population) Change the age requirement for the exemption from the vaccine pass program to 11 years old or younger (currently 18 years old or younger), extending the vaccine pass program to those aged between 12 and 18.

    • * The same rules apply to the adolescents aged between 12 and 18, that is, they must be fully vaccinated or produce a negative PRC test result. Continue to apply the vaccine pass exemption for children aged 11 and younger.
    • (Period of implementation) Allow a grace period (about eight weeks) during which adolescents can get vaccinated, and proceed with full implementation starting Tue, Feb. 1, 2022.
    • * (Grade period) Allow three weeks between the vaccine doses and a two-week observation period after vaccination.
    Key points of the special COVID-19 protocols
    (announcements and decisions of the special protocols review meeting hosted by the President on Nov. 19)

    Basic direction

    Postpone the second revision of the return to normalcy policy. Instead, focus all efforts on administration of booster shots for senior citizens, and vaccinating those who are not yet vaccinated. Strengthen medical response and COVID-19 protocols for the four weeks during which the vaccines take full effect.

    Detailed measures

    ① Administer booster shots without delay, and increase the vaccination rate

    • (Booster shots) Reduce the interval between the vaccine doses (one to two months), focus on vaccinating those related to vulnerable facilities such as convalescent hospitals, vaccinate the elderly population on site without requiring prior booking, and vaccinate adolescents.
      • * The current booster shot completion rate is 20.7%, and 12.9% for people in their 50s or above (as of Nov. 30)
    • (Validity period of vaccine pass) Limit the basic vaccine validity period to six months (five months for the second dose and a grace period of one month) to increase the rate of booster shots.

    ② Secure full capabilities of the medical response system

    • (Home quarantine) Apply home treatment/quarantine as the default measure, not an option. Introduce a health monitoring system that helps people access treatment safely at home, and strengthen the emergency transport system.
    • (Secure hospital beds and medical staff) Continuously secure extra hospital beds for patients with severe/moderate symptoms increase medical staff and equipment, and strengthen the efficiency of hospital bed utilization
    • (Active use of treatments) Vitalize the use of anti-body treatments (e.g. Regdanvimab) to suppress severe symptoms

    ③ Strengthen infection control measures to protect the elderly population

    • (Convalescent hospitals, etc.) Suspend visits, restrict unvaccinated staff from taking work responsibilities that expose them to patients (residents), and require unvaccinated patients to take mandatory PCR tests every week.
    • (Leisure facilities for the elderly) Allow access to facilities (senior citizen centers, and seniors welfare centers) only to those who have received booster shots. Allow only contactless programs to unvaccinated people and those who have not received booster shots