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S. Korea to report record-high COVID-19 tally close to 4,000 on Wed. Updated: 2021-11-24 04:55:54 KST

We start with the latest on the coronvirus situation in South Korea.
The country is forecast to reach a grim milestone today,.. as daily infections are expected to hit an all-time high, nearing 4-thousand cases.
Officials say they will review implementing emergency plans if the situation continues to head towards its breaking point.
For more on this and other related updates,.. joining us is our reporter Choi Min-jung, good morning.

Good morning.

Min-jung, daily infections are skyrocketing as the weekend effect fades away.

That's right, Mark. South Korea is expected to see a record-high number of infections today.

From midnight to 9 P.M. on Tuesday, the country reported more than 3-thousand 5-hundred cases.
This is already surpassing the all-time high figure set last week, which was close to 3-thousand 3-hundred.
Like you said, figures tend to climb up as we get further into the week because fewer tests are done over the weekend, but even when taking this into account, it's still a huge jump.
The capital, Seoul, saw record-breaking figures with more than 1-thousand 5-hundred cases.
And outside the capital area, a major cluster infection broke out at a religious settlement in Chungcheongnam-do Province.
Since Sunday, over 2-hundred 30 people have contracted the virus,.. and it turned out, 92-percent of the people were not vaccinated.

Right, not only are we seeing never-before-seen levels of infections, we are also witnessing record-high numbers of critically-ill patients. How are the authorities dealing with this situation?

Well, authorities have said that they will consider the implementation of their emergency plan,.. if the current situation continues.

If the emergency plan comes into effect, the measures for a gradual return to normal will be suspended, and strict social distancing rules will likely return.
Health experts are urging authorities to quickly hit the brakes to prevent further resurgences, saying that further loosening of the current eased measures under level two seems unlikely.
However, for now, officials say there is no immediate need to enact an emergency plan, despite the difficulties its facing securing hospital beds.

One of the ways the government is dealing with the situation is by ramping up its vaccination campaign. How's the process for those in the younger age brackets?

Well, teenagers aged 12 to 17 are once again able to book COVID-19 vaccines.

The initial round of reservations has ended, but the government has decided to allow more bookings from Tuesday, as students are returning to classrooms.
The decision also comes as the risk of infection among younger people has been increasing.
Over the past five days,.. more than 1-thousand 7-hundred students from kindergarten to high school contracted COVID-19.
With the easing of restrictions which started early this month, daily student infections surpassed the 5-hundred mark for the very first time.
So those who have not yet gotten shots will be able to make reservations until the end of this year.

Min-jung, while the domestic front is under pressure, we hear that there is some good news for those traveling abroad

That's right. People traveling to Saipan will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival.

Starting December 12th, South Koreans arriving in the island will be exempt from the 5-day hotel quarantine.
And of course, this only applies to those who have been fully vaccinated.
South Korea and Saipan formed a travel bubble agreement in June, but quarantine was still a must.
Another country that is part of South Korea's travel bubble agreement is Singapore.
Since last week when the first group of Singaporean travelers came to South Korea since the outbreak of the pandemic, more than one-thousand Singaporeans have visited the country.

Thank you Min-jung for your report. We'll see you again for our newscast tomorrow.

Thank you.
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