South Korean teens drive up COVID-19 cases ahead of full school reopening By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person who acquired a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus illness (COVID-19) vaccine leaves a COVID-19 vaccination middle in Seoul, South Korea, October 29, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea stated on Wednesday it might ramp up COVID-19 testing at colleges after a pointy rise of infections amongst kids, weeks forward of a plan to completely reopen colleges nationwide.

The surge comes as new social distancing guidelines geared toward a phased return to regular got here into impact on Monday as part of the nation’s plan to steadily transfer towards residing with COVID-19 on the again of excessive vaccination charges.

South Korea has absolutely vaccinated almost 90% of its grownup inhabitants however solely started inoculating kids aged between 12 and 17 in latest weeks, administering simply 0.6% of the age group with each doses to date.

“There’s a rising concern because the frequency of recent cluster outbreaks has been growing, centred on instructional services reminiscent of non-public tuition centres and colleges,” Inside and Security Minister Jeon Hae-cheol stated.

The federal government would develop the usage of transportable polymerase chain response (PCR) diagnostic assessments for COVID-19 in colleges in Seoul and neighbouring areas, and mobilise extra virus-prevention personnel in overcrowded colleges, he stated.

South Korea plans to completely reopen colleges nationwide from Nov. 22.

The nation reported 2,667 new circumstances for Tuesday, a rise of greater than 1,000 from the day earlier. Almost one-fourth of the brand new circumstances had been present in youngsters, officers stated.

“The youngsters spend quite a lot of time in communal residing reminiscent of colleges and tuition centres and they’re additionally energetic in social actions,” Son Younger-rae, a senior well being ministry official, instructed a briefing.

“We imagine that the danger of an infection will inevitably rise and the confirmed circumstances will proceed to surge stemming from these youngsters.”

Different nations together with Britain, Israel and Germany have additionally seen the unfold of COVID-19 amongst kids fuelling an increase in general circumstances and have expanded vaccination programmes for youngsters to curb infections.

America is ready to roll out Pfizer Inc (NYSE:) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:) COVID-19 vaccines for youngsters aged 5 to 11 as quickly as Wednesday.

South Korea has not seen a noticeable improve in severely unwell circumstances amongst teenagers, with only one out of 378 extreme COVID-19 sufferers being handled in hospitals. South Korea has additionally reported a comparatively low mortality price of 0.78%.

Vaccination for the 12-17 age group started in October with the Pfizer/BioNTech pictures.

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