SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 2, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) implements its 2021 Comprehensive Plan for Winter. Seoul scrambled to prevent transmission of the virus. But at the same time, it focuses on weathering the cold wave by introducing safety measures for citizens to have safe and warm winter. Seoul has selected 23 tasks in five sectors regarding the safety and livelihood of its citizens.
In addition, the SMG will establish a system for the city and municipal government’s joint responses to provide more stable services for patients under home treatment. The service will first target patients under 70 years old with no or mild symptoms.
Seoul will run regional residential treatment centers dedicated to home care. The city government expects that these centers help them pay attention to all patients, respond to emergencies, and treat patients showing symptoms while being treated at home.
Support systems for outreach testing will be reinforced. A rapid testing squad will be deployed at each mobile testing site. Also, rapid testing centers will be installed anywhere in Seoul within 24 hours but in urgent order.
The SMG said it plans to expand the group of people to get COVID booster shots. Seoul will vaccinate medical professionals, residents in vulnerable facilities, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with a weakened immune system. From December, it will develop a detailed inoculation plan for the general citizen, including essential workers, to encourage their additional vaccination.
To increase the inoculation rate, Seoul simplifies the procedure by removing the reservation system. Now, people can make a call to nearby clinics and visit to get vaccinated. Also, with collaboration with the community service center, Seoul will assist the disabled and foreigners with their vaccination.
It is imperative to keep monitoring facilities vulnerable to virus transmission during winter to prevent a rapid increase of cases. Facilities that do not adhere to containment measures will face a ban on gatherings or fines.
Seoul will create the Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (DSCH) to respond to sudden heavy snow squalls. The DSCH will run 24 hours and help the city come up with rapid responses. To be more specific, the SMG will assign groups for snow removals of vulnerable neighborhoods, expand the installation of an autonomous snow removal system, and secure additional equipment to deal with snow
As for cold waves, Seoul will build step-by-step guidance for each condition to minimize the damage and seek rapid recovery. For example, in preparation for frozen pipe bursts and following water outages, the city came up with an emergency water supply system.
To minimize the damage stirred by sudden cold snaps, Seoul decided to run an integrated control and observation office when a cold wave alert is issued. Seoul Safety application will deliver various instructions for emergencies and breaking news about disasters.
Furthermore, the SMG will protect those likely to suffer more from cold waves, such as poor and isolated senior citizens, homeless people, residents in ramshackle houses, low-income families, and the disabled. The city government made more people eligible for its winter protection plans for low-income families. As a result, the number of beneficiary families increased from 182,960 in 2020 to 220,000 in 2021. The SMG itself fully funded the KRW 11 billion invested in this plan.
Seoul also planned for the disabled and their residential facilities. For those living in 41 facilities, the city provided Gimjang and heating expenses. Additionally, from this month to next March, Seoul will visit 1,400 households of severely disabled people to inspect the Emergency Safety Alarm installed in their homes.
Seoul will run projects to install thermal insulation and provide heating products to 20,000 vulnerable households with energy insecurity for the socially challenged. The city will also receive clothing items–gloves, fluffy socks, etc.–as donations and distribute them to those in need.
To avoid fire incidents and minimize casualties, the SMG will thoroughly inspect buildings with high fire risks. Self-service stores increasing in numbers but as they are prone to fire hazards, a stringent fire safety management system will be applied.
For fine dust reduction, Seoul will band driving grade 5 emission vehicles across Seoul.
Other than these, the SMG has a special logistics plan for snow squalls, a food safety plan for winter, supply management of produce and seafood, and a cleaning plan for fallen leaves and briquette ashes, all of which are devised to improve citizens’ life quality.
Kim Eui-Seung, Director General of Planning and Administration Bureau, said, “We will make sure that our citizens are well protected from COVID-19 and cold waves.” He asked for citizens’ cooperation by adding, “Please follow the basic personal hygiene rules such as wearing a mask and washing hands. Also, please remember that there are neighbors in need around us.”