▶ PM KIM: S. KOREA NEEDS COVID 'VACCINE PASS'
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum has said when the country implements a new strategy that involves living with COVID-19, expected sometime next month, antivirus curbs will be eased first for people who are fully vaccinated.
Speaking to a government committee tasked with preparing for the return to pre-pandemic activities, he stressed the need for a so-called vaccine pass.
But he said sufficient consideration will be given to people who choose not to get inoculated and those who are unable to do so because of health issues.
Currently, everyone can visit multiuse facilities regardless of vaccination status if they adhere to basic rules such as wearing masks, providing personal information for contact tracing and social distancing.
The prime minister said a cautious approach should be taken for the gradual return to normal life and noted it could be a slow process.
▶ RISING VACCINATIONS SUPPORT DROP IN NEW COVID CASES
Another drop in new coronavirus cases has been reported, offering further positive signs of a slowdown in the spread of the virus amid growing vaccine coverage.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 1,440 additional COVID-19 patients were confirmed in the previous 24 hours, along with 16 more virus-related deaths.
Among the newly confirmed cases, 80 percent were confirmed in the greater Seoul area, which remains a major hotspot.
Health authorities have highlighted that for the first time in 14 weeks since the country began battling its fourth wave of COVID-19 in July, daily caseloads have dipped below 1,500.
The KDCA earlier predicted such a decline due to continued social distancing measures and ramped up vaccinations.
It's expected that more than 70 percent of the South Korean population will be fully vaccinated by Saturday, at the earliest.
▶ US NUKE ENVOY TO ARRIVE IN SEOUL, DISCUSS N. KOREA
Washington's top nuclear envoy Sung Kim is set to arrive in Seoul today for talks on North Korea.
According to Seoul's foreign ministry, Kim will sit down with his South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk, to discuss Korean Peninsula issues.
The U.S. envoy could also deliver to Noh the Biden administration's stance on a proposal to formally end the Korean War.
▶ GOVT PLANS TEMPORARY FUEL TAX CUT
First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon says the government will temporarily cut fuel taxes.
He revealed some details of the plan today, including moves to additionally cut import tariffs on liquid natural gas, currently at 2 percent, as part of efforts to ease people's burdens amid a hike in energy costs and upward pressure on inflation.
Prices of Dubai crude, South Korea’s benchmark, neared 84 dollars per barrel this month, up from an average of around 72 dollars in September.
Lee said the government will unveil details about fuel tax cuts, including the timing and scope, next week.
▶ 'SQUID GAME' UP FOR 2 GOTHAM AWARDS
The wildly popular South Korean drama "Squid Game" is up for two awards in the United States.
The nominees for the annual Gotham Independent Awards, which recognizes excellence in independent films and television, were released Thursday and included "Squid Game," a Netflix original, in the Breakthrough Series-Long Format category, along with five other TV series.
Its lead actor Lee Jung-jae was also one of 10 candidates for Outstanding Performance in a New Series, including Ethan Hawke in "The Good Lord Bird" and Anya Taylor-Joy in "The Queen's Gambit."
The Gotham Awards is one of the major film awards ceremonies in the United States in the runup to the Oscars slated for March next year.
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