• News Update 10/25/2021

▶ MOON'S ₩604 TRILLION BUDGET TARGETS PANDEMIC RECOVERY

President Moon Jae-in says the country will start to gradually return to normal life next month as the rate of those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has surpassed 70 percent.

The key milestone was achieved over the weekend.

In his budget speech at the National Assembly, Moons said some antivirus curbs, including the mask mandate, will remain in place to slow the spread of the virus.

He described the envisioned return to pre-pandemic activities as a "threshold of hope" and pledged to provide support for small merchants hit hard by COVID-19.

Moon said the budget proposal for next year is aimed at helping the nation move beyond the era of crises.

The government has proposed a record high spending plan of 604.4 trillion won as it strives for economic recovery.

On North Korea, Moon vowed to push for "dialogue and diplomacy" to achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.

▶ FOURTH COVID-19 WAVE IS SLOWING IN S. KOREA

Local health authorities have reported another decline in new coronavirus cases.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 1,167 local infections and 23 imported cases were confirmed in the previous 24 hours.

The death toll stood at 2,773, up seven from Sunday.

The agency noted that new virus cases stayed below 2,000 for the 17th day in a row, but also reminded that the tally tends to fluctuate due to less testing during the weekend.

The KDCA said 40.7 million people, or 79 percent of the population, have so far received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines.

The number of fully vaccinated people reached 35.9 million, or 70.1 percent.

▶ SENIORS, CARE WORKERS TO START GETTING BOOSTERS

Health authorities will begin administering COVID-19 booster shots to elderly people aged 75 and up as well as workers and patients at senior care centers.

The government's vaccination task force said they will receive the Pfizer shot as their third dose.

They are the first group to get boosters and coverage will gradually be expanded to high-risk groups and adults 60 and older, who will get the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The government will open a meeting of its vaccination advisory committee this week to discuss plans for boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

An announcement is expected afterwards.

▶ CITIBANK KOREA TO PHASE OUT RETAIL BANKING

Citibank Korea says it will close its retail banking services in "phases" in line with a global business reorganization drive.

The Korean unit of U.S. banking giant Citigroup said it will carry out a voluntary retirement program for its employees in consultation with the local union, while pushing to reassign those who have worked in the soon-to-be-closed service area to other fields.

It also said it will minimize any inconveniences for customers through close coordination with financial authorities and maintain services until relevant contracts with depositors expire.

Citigroup opened its first branch in South Korea in 1967 and launched Citibank Korea in 2004 after acquiring KorAm Bank.

▶ SEOUL NORMALIZES LATE-NIGHT SUBWAY SERVICES

Late-night subway services in Seoul, which ran on a 20 percent reduced schedule after 10 p.m. since this summer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, are set to be normalized from Monday.

The move comes as the country prepares to shift to a new strategy that involves living with the coronavirus amid decreased transmissions and increased vaccinations.







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