KDCA says mutant coronavirus variant found in 3 overseas arrivals
January 18, 2022

KDCA says mutant coronavirus variant found in 3 overseas arrivals

SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA) – The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Monday that the nation has reported the first mutant version of the coronavirus in three people who arrived from London on December 22. The mutant virus is linked to the sudden spurt in the number of cases in the United Kingdom.

The KDCA has recorded 808 new infections as of Sunday midnight and the number is the lowest since a record 1,241 cases were clocked on Friday.

Meanwhile, authorities have warned that the dip in the number of cases could be attributed to less testing carried out over the weekend and Christmas holiday. Social distancing curbs would be extended until early next month.

The government is facing mounting criticism over its procurement of the coronavirus shots and rollout plans. It plans to begin vaccination in the first quarter of 2021, months after the US and the EU.

Negative views of the vaccination plans were the main reason why President Moon Jae-in’s disapproval rating reached an all-time high of 60%, as per pollster Realmeter’s revelations on Monday.

According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, regulators will bring down the period required to approve vaccines and treatments from 180 days to 40 days.

The ministry also made it clear that the additional approval process for the distribution and sale of shots, which normally takes several months, would be shortened to 20 days.

In February, health workers and elderly citizens will be given the vaccines and the plans to vaccinate the broader public is gaining speed, said presidential chief of staff Noh Young-min on Sunday.

“The government is doing all it can to advance this time frame and is also making progress,” he said.

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