On November 1, South Korea launched a gradual “coexistence with COVID” pandemic prevention model aimed at restoring daily life and order. That night, Korean restaurants were crowded with customers, and the city seemed to regain its vitality.
In the last few months, many countries in Asia and Oceania have changed their strategies to coexist rather than eliminate the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. And South Korea is one of the latest additions to implement a “live with COVID” pandemic approach.
On the night of November 1, a reporter from The Epoch Times visited Seochon Street near Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul and found that most restaurants were crowded with young customers. Food Street seems to have regained its pre-COVID vitality.
Since the introduction of the new pandemic prevention model, the number of overseas travel reservations has increased significantly in South Korea. According to Wemake price, a Korean e-commerce platform, sales of overseas airline tickets from October 1st to October 25th increased by 790% compared to the previous month. Almost 90% of customers paid for tickets departing by the end of this year.
The 2021 Korea Sale Festa (COSEPE) also started on November 1st. COSEPE is Korea’s largest annual shopping festival, hosted by the Government of South Korea, the Festa Promotion Committee, and 17 cities in South Korea this year. This is an online and offline simultaneous sale event that will last until November 15th. Over 2,500 companies participated in this year’s Festa. This is the most common in history.
Labor shortages are becoming a problem for SMEs as South Korea relaxes COVID restrictions and resumes its economy. According to News 1 Korea, South Korean Minister of Employment and Labor Ahn Kyung-deok said the government would begin to lift immigration restrictions on foreign workers due to a pandemic.
“Immigration restrictions will be lifted from the end of November at the latest,” Anne said Monday, suggesting that the ministry plans to expand workers’ entry to 16 countries.
New three-phase COVID prevention model
Korea’s “coexistence with COVID” prevention model is Three-phase, And the first phase will continue until December 12. In the first phase, all public facilities except entertainment facilities are open 24 hours a day. Regardless of vaccination status, the maximum number of people who can attend a private meeting is 10 in metropolitan areas and 12 in non-metropolitan areas. Meetings and events can be held by up to 100 people without the need for vaccination.
Large gatherings and activities are allowed at the beginning of the second phase. In the third stage, the restrictions on personal gatherings are completely lifted and normal life is completely resumed.
However, if the intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy exceeds 75%, the government will sayEmergency planning, “Pause measures to restore daily life. In the emergency plan, we will introduce a “pandemic prevention pass” system, tighten restrictions on private meetings, prohibit visits to nursing homes, carry out virus tests for medical personnel, and secure beds. South Korea has achieved its goal of immunizing 70% of 52 million people on October 23, according to Reuters.
South Korea hopes that the new COVID prevention model will be able to boost the domestic economy in the midst of a global recession. According to KBS World, South Korea’s international broadcasting service, South Korea’s exports seem to be proceeding smoothly. Its exports have increased for the 12th consecutive month, with an average monthly export of over $ 50 billion over the last eight months. From January to October of this year, South Korea’s total exports reached $ 523.2 billion, surpassing last year’s annual exports and achieving record exports of $ 500 billion.
However, Koreans still reserve new preventive models and their economic implications. Some experts believe that while rising international oil and raw material prices have led to domestic inflation, the model has a limited impact on the recovery of domestic consumption. And many fear that new models could lead to new uncontained outbreaks. These uncertainties pose new challenges for the Korean government and its economy.
Various strategies for COVID
Governments around the world generally have two strategies for a pandemic: “zero COVID” or “coexistence with COVID.”
The Delta variant of the CCP virus is faster and more potent than the original strain, significantly increasing the cost of removing the virus in each country. Under difficult trade-offs to deal with economic pressure and pandemics, many governments have gradually opted for “mitigation (coexistence with COVID)” over “exclusion (zero COVID)”.
Today, many countries in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel, Singapore, and the Asia-Pacific region are implementing a “coexistence with COVID” pandemic prevention model. However, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China still adhere to the “Zero COVID” strategy, with Taiwan having the greatest success everywhere.
The “coexisting with COVID” pandemic prevention model aims to treat the CCP virus as a long-term influenza-like epidemic rather than a pandemic. Instead of preventing the spread of the virus, many governments are looking to mass vaccination. The focus is no longer on reducing new COVID cases, but on managing critically ill patients.