• News Update 2/14/2022
▶ S. Korea To Increase Supply Of Rapid COVID-19 Tests

Rapid antigen self-test kits for 30 million people will be available at local pharmacies and convenience stores for two weeks starting this week.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced new measures to ensure the availability of test kits due to the surge in new COVID-19 cases and patients receiving treatment at home.

The government also began banning online sales of COVID-19 tests, while individuals will temporarily only be allowed to buy up to five kits per purchase.

Officials said the decision to implement caps was made amid concerns of price gouging.

In addition, the ministry said it will distribute additional self-test kits for 24 million people at COVID-19 testing clinics and virus-prone facilities, including nursing homes and daycare centers, starting today.

The government has reassured there is no need to hoard test kits as supplies remain stable, reminding the public can get rapid antigen tests for free at local COVID-19 screening centers.

▶ KDCA Reports Over 54,000 New COVID-19 Cases

More than 54,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in South Korea in the past 24 hours.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said the tally included 54,513 local cases and 106 imported from abroad.

The agency noted that new infections decreased slightly from the daily record high of 56,428 reported the previous day.

The COVID-19 death toll rose by 21 to 7,102, while the number of critically ill patients in ICUs increased by 18 to 306, surpassing the 300 mark for the first time in 17 days.

Health authorities are bracing for new cases to breach 170,000 a day by the end of February, while experts predict the figure could soar even higher as the highly contagious Omicron variant continues to sweep across the nation.

South Korea plans to start administering a fourth dose, or second booster shot, of COVID-19 vaccines late this month to those with weak immune systems or patients in nursing facilities to prevent the spread of the virus.

▶ S. Korea Urges Its Citizens In Ukraine To Evacuate

South Korean nationals residing in Ukraine have been urged to evacuate amid concerns of an imminent Russian invasion.

There are 281 overseas Koreans in Ukraine, including embassy staff, as of this morning.

Others are missionaries and small business owners.

The ministry has advised South Koreans there to visit its embassy's website for evacuation procedures.

Earlier, Seoul banned nationals from traveling to the country.

▶ Ukraine Seeks Talks With Russia Over Border Build-Up

Ukraine has asked for talks with Russia and other members of a key European security group within 48 hours to discuss the buildup of more than a hundred thousand Russian troops on its border.

Russia denies that it's planning to invade Ukraine.

Ukraine's Ambassador to the United Kingdom Vadym Prystaiko has said his country may contemplate shelving its ambition to join NATO in order to avoid military conflict.

[Clip: Prystaiko]
"We are flexible trying to find the best way out. If we have to go through some serious concessions that's something we might do. That's for sure."

This has been a key Russian demand.

In another development, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited U.S. President Joe Biden to visit his country.

▶ Korea Wins Olympic Silver In Women's Short Track Relay

South Korea skated to silver Sunday in the women's 3,000-meter short track relay at the Beijing Olympics.

The team of Choi Min-jeong, Lee Yu-bin, Kim A-lang and Seo Whi-min finished behind the dominant Netherlands at Capital Indoor Stadium.

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