• News Update 10/26/2021
▶ S. KOREA PREPARES FOR 'LIVING WITH COVID' TRANSITION

As South Korea prepares to shift to a new living with COVID-19 strategy that will ease tough social distancing rules, authorities warn people must not let their guard down too quickly.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said in an interagency COVID response meeting that it's likely not everyone will continue to adhere to disease prevention measures, such as wearing masks, when the new strategy takes effect next month.

Starting November 1, the government will begin a three-phased transition for the return to pre-pandemic life.

It will first focus on easing restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals.

▶AUTHORITIES WARN AGAINST COMPLACENCY

Kim reiterated that a system where people will have to show proof of inoculation or a negative test result will take effect on Monday.

He also expressed concern about potential risks associated with Halloween festivities this weekend.

Kim reminded that the vaccination rate among young adults and foreign residents still remains low, adding that complacency could lead to another mass coronavirus outbreak.

▶ KDCA REPORTS 1,266 NEW COVID-19 CASES, 15 DEATHS

Local health authorities tallied less than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases for the third consecutive day.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,266 new cases in the previous 24 hours, raising the total caseload to 354,355.

The death toll hit 2,788 with the loss of 15 more lives to the virus.

The agency said so far, 70.9 percent of people in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

▶ GOVT OFFERS TEMPORARY RELIEF AT THE PUMP

The government and ruling Democratic Party have agreed to lower taxes on gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas butane by 20 percent, the largest-ever cut, for six months from November 12 to April 30.

The move aims to help people at the pump amid concerns about inflation and rising oil prices.

Under the plan, gas prices will go down by 164 won per liter and diesel by 116 won per liter.

Current 2 percent tariffs on liquefied natural gas imports will be dropped to zero over the same period.

▶ ASEAN REVIEWS CRISIS IN MYANMAR

The crisis in Myanmar after the military takeover in February is on the agenda for a regional summit that's just begun in Brunei.

The BBC's Jonathan Head has the latest.

[Reporter]
At the moment, there's a lot of bad blood between ASEAN and the military and it's not clear where the ASEAN envoy, the Bruneian foreign minister, where he can go next.

He's been blocked effectively from starting his mission and going to Myanmar because the military is refusing him to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.

So, I think that really hangs over this summit and even it's an internal problem for ASEAN.

Normally, they are far more interested in the engagement of the big powers like the U.S. and China and their interest in this region.

But for ASEAN, this absolute dilemma of Myanmar is something they cannot resolve at the moment.

▶ US PAUSES AID TO SUDAN AMID MILITARY COUP

The United States has suspended a big aid package to Sudan amid worldwide condemnation of the military coup there.

Ned Price is the State Department spokesman.

[Clip: Price]
"Military officials should immediately release and ensure the safety of all detained political actors, fully restore the civilian-led transitional government and refrain from any violence against protesters, including the use of live ammunition. In light of these developments, the United States is pausing assistance from the 700 million dollars in emergency assistance appropriations of economic support funds for Sudan."






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