Commuters cross a zebra crossing, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Seoul. Reuters
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in called on Wednesday for seamless preparations for coronavirus vaccinations, as a refrigerated van drove in convoy with several military and police escort cars in a drill at the capital’s airport.
Despite initial success in taming earlier outbreaks, South Korea is grappling with its third and largest wave of infections, which has fuelled criticism that it was slow to secure vaccines for a population of 52 million.
But no exact date has been set for the arrival of vaccines and this month’s start of an inoculation campaign targeting about 50,000 frontline health workers and the elderly that aims to cover about 10 million high-risk people by July.
Wednesday’s preparedness drill at the Incheon international airport, west of Seoul, mobilised special freezers and ran through scenarios such as a terror attack, theft and transport faults, military and police officials said.
“We need to accomplish our tasks in the actual process of transport, storage and distribution without any errors,” Moon said during the drill.
“Repetitive exercises are important to ensure there won’t be any trials and errors that have occurred overseas, including missing vaccines and cold chain problems.”
The vans carried containers specially made for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that require ultra cold storage, by Korean Air, the nation’s largest airline.
One container can carry up to 60,000 doses at temperatures of minus 18 Celsius (minus 0.4 F) for about 100 hours, an airline official said.
Vaccine centres have been designated in 250 indoor gyms and community halls nationwide, and equipped with cold storage facilities.
South Korea has deals with Pfizer Inc, AstraZeneca , Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen and Moderna Inc , as well as the World Health Organization-backed global COVAX scheme.
Pfizer vaccines for about 60,000 people and AstraZeneca products for 300,000 more could arrive this month via COVAX, authorities have said.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 467 new cases by Tuesday, as numbers rebounded above 400 in four days, boosted by continuing cluster infections.
Authorities have extended by two weeks a requirement to observe social distancing, urging vigilance ahead of next week’s Lunar New Year holidays, when tens of millions of Koreans usually travel across the country.
If the situation improves, however, the government might ease some measures this weekend, including a restaurant curfew, health ministry official Yoon Tae-ho told a briefing.
South Korea’s president said on Wednesday Japan’s export curbs on key materials used by South Korean technology firms could be prolonged and Seoul will help companies reduce their reliance on Japanese suppliers.
US President Donald Trump will host his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next month, Seoul said on Friday, after the latest summit between Washington and Pyongyang ended in deadlock.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has urged Japan to withdraw export controls on high-tech materials bound for South Korea, he said on Monday, calling the restriction a bid to limit bilateral
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, winners of the 20th edition of the Arab Journalism Award (AJA) were honoured on Sunday at a ceremony held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Wasl Plaza.
Besting 73 teams with over 440 student participants from 10 countries, the University of Sharjah (UoS) successfully regained the coveted “rolling trophy” from the Nov. 23 and 24 “21st Inter-College Environmental Public Speaking Competition” organised by the non-government organisation Emirates Environmental Group (EEG).
“The total number of retirees who are not of the local staff in the Emirate of Sharjah reached 9,866 retirees, including groups whose monthly income is less than Dhs17,500, so we must raise it to Dhs17,500,” Sheikh Sultan said.
The problem was the elite capture of resources which deprived the majority of proper healthcare, education and justice. Lack of rule of law is the reason why Pakistan had not achieved its potential,” Imran said in an exclusive online conversation with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf.