• 수도권확진 감소유지 시 2.5단계 연장 없을 듯

    If daily new cases of coronavirus remain steady throughout the rest of this week, the so called Level 2.5 social distancing measures for Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi could be lifted as planned on Sunday midnight, health authorities said Wednesday.

    If those measures are lifted, this would mean that after 9 p.m., coffee shops, bars and restaurants could return to allow customers to eat and drink within their establishments.

    The optimistic announcement from the Central Disaster Management Headquarters on Wednesday came a few hours after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 156 new Covid 19 patients were detected nationwide on Tuesday, up from 136 the previous day.

    It was the 7th day in a row that the daily new cases in Korea stayed below 200.

    “We ‘re definitely seeing fewer patients and everyday cases have plunged into the stable range of between 100 and 200,” Mr. Sohn, a headquarters official, said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

    If the public continues to focus on social distancing through the weekend, he suggested that a more subdued outbreak might allow the government to allow the expiry of Level 2.5 measures.

    In the days ahead, central health authorities will decide whether to allow the Level 2.5 measures to expire or extend them for another week, said Sohn, a call that would hinge on the virus situation in the metropolitan area of Seoul and the rest of the nation.

    In the same breath, he warned people not to crowd riverside areas and parks, and urged members of the public to stay home during the upcoming Chuseok holidays, stressing that this year’s “filial duty” was a way not to visit their relatives at all.

    Of the 156 people diagnosed with coronavirus on Tuesday, 144 were infected locally, while the rest had been infected abroad, the KCDC said.

    By midnight on Tuesday, Korea had counted 21,588 patients with coronavirus in all.

    Korea ‘s recent outbreak was primarily caused by two clusters last month, one emanating from the Sarang Jeil Church in Seongbuk District, central Seoul, and the other from an anti government rally held in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on Korea’s Aug 15 Liberation Day.

    Several right wing groups have announced plans to hold a set of anti Moon Jae in rallies in downtown Seoul on Oct 3 Foundation Day despite government disapproval. Prime Minister Chung Sye kyun warned on Wednesday that if they take to the streets, the organizers will face harsh legal consequences.

    • 정부가 오늘(9일) 코로나19 신규 환자 감소세가 유지된다면 수도권에서 시행하고 있는 ‘사회적 거리두기 2.5단계’ 조치를 추가 연장하지 않을 것이라며, 수도권 거리두기 강도와 관련된 결정을 이번 주 내에 하기로 했다.
    • 확산의 감소 기미가 보이긴 하지만 ‘사회적 거리두기’를 계속 지켜나갈 것과 추석 명절도 가능한 가족 친지를 방문하는 것을 지양할 것을 당부했다.
    • 한편, 최근 재발한 코로나의 확산의 주된 원인은 사랑제일교회와 광화문 집회가 주된 원인으로 꼽히고 있으며, 일부 보수우파 단체가 10월3일 개천절에 반정부 집회를 예고하는 가운데, 정부는 집회 주체측에 위법에 따른 처벌 등의 강력한 경고를 했다.

    2m | Sep 9, 2020
  • 서울 등 수도권에서 8일간 '사회적 거리두기' 2.5단계 시행'

    South Korea began Sunday to restrict operations of restaurants, bakeries and franchise coffee chains in an effort to contain the fast spread of the new coronavirus.

    Under the plan that lasts until next Sunday, restaurants and bakeries can operate until 9 p.m., and only takeaways and delivery will be permitted from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

    For franchise coffee chains, only takeout or delivery will be permitted regardless of operating hours, as cluster infections traced to coffee shops have been reported.

    When customers visit coffee chains for takeaway, they should follow quarantine measures, such as signing entry logs, wearing masks and keeping a safe distance.

    The move is part of the government’s strengthened virus curbs in Seoul and surrounding areas, home to half of the country’s 51 million population, as the country struggles to curb spiking virus cases.

    Instead of raising the level of social distancing to the highest Level Three, the country unveiled stronger and “tailored” virus curbs Friday for vulnerable groups and risk-prone facilities, a move widely viewed as Level 2.5.

    The government has been cautious about raising the social distancing guidelines to Level Three from the current Level Two due to the far-reaching impact on the economy.

    Meanwhile, South Korea began to suspend the operation of indoor sports facilities, including fitness centers and billiard halls, in the wake of virus infections at indoor sports centers.

    The government also expanded no-assembly orders from large academies to almost all cram schools in the wider Seoul area. Only online lectures will be permitted.

    To protect the elderly, visits to nursing homes and facilities will be banned.

    Health authorities will also make one-third of all employees at government agencies and public institutions work from home. They also recommended private companies take similar steps.

    In mid-August, the government raised virus curbs to Level Two in the Seoul region for two weeks and expanded it across the nation starting last Sunday.

    Health authorities extended the current step for one more week in the wider Seoul region, as the number of new infections has not shown signs of easing.

    2m | Aug 30, 2020
  • 홍남기 기획재정부 장관 "거리두기 3단계 전환시 경제 피해 극심....깊이 있게 검토돼야"

    Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the government will consider initiating a second round of cash-equivalent relief campaign, should social distancing measures be raised to Level 3 from the current 2 amid a rapid flare-up of COVID-19 infections. The first round of relief incurred 14 billion won (11.8 million) in government funds after providing up to 1 million won to all households.

    The highest level, defined by a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people and other tightened rules, will deal a severe blow to the country's economy, posing the strongest headwind to the economy, he added.

    "Raising the level to 3 should follow the deepest consideration of its far-reaching consequences on every sector of society," Hong said during a press briefing Thursday.

    The change in the social distancing level together with changes in the number of new infections will be the key variable for the government to determine whether to draft a fourth extra budget, he added.

    "Further deliberation will be needed to decide whether or by how much the government should use fiscal policy to help those affected by the Level 3 measures."

    Containment effort is the top priority, not only a prerequisite for the economy to recover faster from the pandemic, but also a reason he said he cannot oppose the Level 3 rule.

    "Economic recovery and virus containment should be equally pursued, because we cannot make it with one without the other. The government will continue to seek a balance between the need to put in place strict containment measures and its impact on the economy in high-level meetings in the weeks to come," he said.

    Discussion on the second round of cash-equivalent relief must be preceded by the full execution of the third budget in the amount of 35 trillion won, he stressed.

    At least 8 trillion won and up to 9 trillion won of 35 trillion won has yet to be executed including 2 trillion won allocated for low-income earners who have experienced layoffs or pay cuts, a part of emergency assistance to better protect the most vulnerable, Hong said.

    "It will take until the end of the year for the third budget to be fully executed. The government will closely monitor the changes in the number of infections before considering drafting another extra budget."

    Korea reported 371 new infections, Friday, following 441 a day earlier. The daily figures have been ranging between 266 and 441 over the past 10 days.

    2m | Aug 28, 2020
  • 정부 ‘업무개시명령서’ vs 전공의 ‘집단사직서’

    Given the threat from the Ministry of Health to take criminal action against them, hundreds of doctors in training stayed on strike.

    The government has given instructions to 358 medical interns and fourth-year residents who left their employment last Friday to return to emergency rooms and ICUs in 20 hospitals in Seoul and Gyeonggi, according to Yoon Tae-ho, a senior official at the Ministry of Health.

    On-site checks were being performed at major hospitals to test if trainee doctors complied with the order, Yoon said, adding that order violators could be punished with a prison term of up to three years, or a fine of up to 30 million won ($25,000) and revocation of a medical license.

    A coordinated 72-hour strike was initiated on Wednesday by leaders of the Korean Medical Association (KMA) in solidarity with the trainee doctors to protest four policies in the government's health care reform program.

    The most controversial of the measures are an rise in admissions to medical schools and the creation of a public medical school which would be skewed by the Korean Intern Resident Association (KIRA), the group responsible for the strike, argues by allowing new doctors to specialize in lucrative non-essential services such as plastic surgery.

    In rural areas, where the elderly population is rapidly increasing, the government argues that an increase in the number of doctors is required to meet health care demands. The number of physicians per 1000 people in Korea currently stands at 2.4, slightly lower than an average of 3.5 in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    Last month 's announcement from the Health Ministry that it was preparing to increase the number of medical school admissions by 400 annually to a maximum of 4,000 in the next decade prompted intense resistance from both KIRA and KMA, culminating in their decision to launch coordinate strikes — all in the wake of a new rise in Covid-19 cases in the greater Seoul area.

    The government's threats that legal action would be taken if trainees did not return to their positions apparently did little to dissuade them, with KIRA reporting Thursday that 76 percent of all 16,000 interns and four-year residents submitted letters of resignation as objections to the policies.

    However, it's not clear how many of those letters were actually filed. Several major hospitals in the capital including Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital and Konkuk University Medical Center said they had not received any resignations as of Thursday morning.

    The actual number of doctors participating in the general strike this week appeared to be smaller than what the KMA had admitted to the government in its earlier alerts, at about 10 per cent.

    While it has a membership of more than 100,000 — primarily because all physicians in Korea are automatically registered with the association once they obtain their licences — the KMA has been criticized for being unrepresentative of the broader medical profession and subject to the whims of a handful of its more prominent members who have ample time to devote to its activities.

    Its current chief, Choi Dae-zip, is a reported right-wing protester known for non-medicinal political actions, such as calling for the release of former president Park Geun-hye from jail.

    Choi sent an open letter Thursday to leaders of KMA throughout the country calling for their help with the strike.

    A that public outcry against the strike is part of what could dissuade greater participation, as it coincides with what is increasingly looking like another Covid-19 mass contagion in the region.

    A poll released on Thursday by Realmeter, conducted among 500 respondents nationwide, showed that 51 percent agreed with the government's back-to-work order to trainee doctors, as opposed to 42 percent who said it was a "unilateral decision." The survey had a 95 percent confidence level and a 4.4 percentage point margin of error.

    3m | Aug 26, 2020
  • 불신의 종류

    Varieties of disbelief

    Everyone, without exception, has found some things to not believe in. Things that are demonstrably true that we just don’t want to accept.

    A bit like a fingerprint, each person’s pattern of disbelief is probably unique. You might believe that water is made of atoms, but that the moon is made of cheese. It’s hard to predict.

    But the interesting question is: What has to happen for you to change your mind? What standard of proof, from what source, is sufficient for us to accept that something we’re sure wasn’t true, is true?

    That’s a great place to begin.

    우리 모두는 현상이나 사물이 명확함에도 불신할 수 있는 구실을 찾는다. 이는 우리 자신이 수용하기를 원치 않기 때문인데, 이른바 믿고싶은 것을 믿는 현상이 강해지고 있다.

    이러한 불신의 패턴은 마치 지문처럼 각각 특이한 형태를 갖기도 한다. 당신은 물이 원자로 이루어졌을 것이라고 믿지만, 달이 치즈로 만들어졌다고 믿을 지도 모른다. 이렇듯 믿는다는 것에는 예측이 힘들다.

    흥미로운 질문은: 당신의 마인드가 변화하려면 어떤 일이 생겨야 하는가이다.

    어떤 증명의 기준과 출처로 우리는 무엇인가가 틀렸던 것이라고 인정하고 진실로 받아들이는가?

    그 지점은 좋은 시작점이 될 수 있다.

    0m | Aug 25, 2020
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