South Korea has achieved its goal of fully inoculating over 70 per cent of the country’s population against Covid-19 earlier than scheduled amid its accelerating vaccination drive.
A total of 35.94 million people have received their both shots of Covid-19 vaccines, accounting for 70 perc ent of the country’s 51.3 million population, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
South Korea began its nationwide vaccination campaign in late February.
The achievement comes as the country is set to gradually phase out restrictions starting next month, joining a list of countries embracing a new scheme of returning to normal life with the virus.
The scheme, dubbed “Living with Covid-19”, is set to take effect in early November.
It means that Covid-19 will be treated as an infectious respiratory disease, like seasonal influenza, with eased social distancing being implemented.
Authorities expect vaccinations will further pick up steam going forward, to get 85 per cent of all South Koreans and foreigners living in the country fully inoculated by early next year, which is expected to create the so-called herd immunity.
Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to a certain type of disease, making the spread of the disease from person to person unlikely.
Currently, the restrictions on private gatherings have been lifted to allow up to eight people in the greater Seoul area, provided that four of them are fully vaccinated.
A maximum of 10 people, including six fully vaccinated, are allowed in other regions.
The eased rules will apply until the end of this month in what the authorities said would be the last adjustment of social distancing.
Talk of booster shots is gaining traction, with authorities planning to start booster shots for people over 60 and those who are less immune next month.
Booster shots will also be applied to those who were vaccinated overseas.
On Sunday, South Korea reported 1,423 new Covid-19 cases, which took the overall infection tally to 351,899, according to the KDCA.
The death toll spiked to 2,766 after 21 more people succumbed to the virus.