Moon calls for speeding up booster shots

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday called for speeding up booster shots for the elderly as the country struggles to tackle the unabated Covid-19 resurgence, including cases of the new Omicron variant.
Moon calls for speeding up booster shots
Moon Jae In. File photo

Seoul

The country added 6,977 new Covid-19 infections, raising the total caseload to 510,538, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). 
The number of critically ill patients came to 856 on Saturday, up four from a day ago, while the death toll hit a daily high of 80, pushing the total up to 4,210, reports Yonhap News Agency. 
The KDCA has confirmed 12 new omicron cases, pushing the total up to 75. 
"Please take special care in speeding up (booster shot inoculations) for seniors in regional communities," Moon said in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, according to the latter's office. 
Moon also told Kim to better explain to the public the need to vaccinate young people based on scientific data, amid a growing public backlash against the government's plan to expand the vaccine pass scheme to teenagers next year. 
The KDCA said 83.6 per cent of the country's 52 million population have at least received one vaccine dose, while 81.1 percent were fully inoculated and 11.8 per cent have gotten their booster shots. 
Starting February 2022, the government plans to require not only adults but also children aged 12 to 18 to present Covid-19 vaccination or negative test certificates at multiuse facilities, including public study rooms and cram schools. 
The government made the announcement last week along with toughened gathering restrictions amid the latest virus resurgence and a pileup of student infections. But it sparked strong backlash from students and parents arguing the measure amounts to forcing vaccination upon minors. 
On Monday, the government enforced stricter social distancing rules to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the Omicron variant. 
Under the new measures, which will remain in effect until January 2, 2022, private gatherings are limited to six people in the greater Seoul area and eight in the rest of the country. 
More business facilities now need to require visitors to be fully vaccinated or to show a negative Covid-19 test result. Newly added to the so-called vaccine pass system include restaurants, coffee shops, cram schools and internet cafes.

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