Present a reliable roadmap

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Present a reliable roadmap

 Social distancing rules have eased from Monday as the country readies to shift to “living with Covid-19” from next month. Up to eight people, including four fully vaccinated, are allowed to dine per table in the evening in the capital region and up to 10 in other areas.

The country is finally close to a return to normal. Focus will be concentrated on lessening the gravity of the illness and deaths instead of trying to contain the number of new infections.

The daily count remains in four-digit numbers since the fourth wave broke out in July. Still, an easing of the mitigation rule has become possible due to the country’s sharply increased vaccination rate and greater medical capabilities to accommodate seriously-ill patients. The fully-vaccinated account for 63.9 percent (77.9 percent in first-dose rate) while fatality rate fell to 0.77 percent thanks to the devotion of medical professionals and civilian participation in vaccination efforts.

The government has launched a committee comprised of 30 outside experts and 40 government officials to prepare for the normalization of lives. The committee is divided into subcommittees on economy, social and cultural affairs, local government and safety and quarantine and medical fields to tap public opinions and propose policy outlines for the post-pandemic era. In the first meeting, the committee set policy direction on incremental and inclusive normalization. It will present a roadmap by the end of the month.

Civilians and medical professionals fatigued by the nearly two yearlong Covid-19 crisis are closely waiting for the details on the return to normalcy. Social distancing rules that will affect the business hours of shops and multi-use facilities will be the most important issue.

Since the committee is set on an incremental return to normal lives, it must offer various incentives to draw more unvaccinated to receive the shots. The transitional period overlaps with the fall season and seasonal influenza period. As social distance easing could temporarily cause a greater outbreak, booster shots for senior citizens must proceed as planned.

When Moon Jae-in’s spokesman publicized the president receiving a booster shot, he touted that the country envisions it will be No. 1 in vaccination rate and fastest in returning to normal life. But being No. 1 is not important. The government must thoroughly study the cases of Britain, Singapore and other countries that have shifted to a “living with Covid-19” policy and present a persuasive and effective normalization roadmap.
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