Customers wearing protective masks will pay for the purchase at a vegetable stall at Manwon Market in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
South Korea is aiming to open up its economy and work on a travel bubble program because it has been relatively successful in curbing the spread of Covid-19, the Deputy Prime Minister told CNBC in an exclusive interview.
The government plans to increase consumption and further stimulate the economy in the second half of this year, and policies to achieve that goal will be implemented, said Mr. Hong Kusu, who is also the Minister of Economy and Finance of South Korea.
“I think the current government is relatively successful in both infection control and vaccination,” he told CNBC. Cherry can According to CNBC’s translation of his Korean remarks on Friday. “Based on the results, the current government now intends to promote economic growth while maintaining such health measures.”
In fact, he said South Korea is aiming for herd immunity by November. This means that most of the population is either completely vaccinated or immunized by infection, preventing the virus from spreading rapidly.
As of last week, 30% of South Korea’s population has been vaccinated, and Hong states that South Korea can reach 70% by September.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the country reported more than 155,500 cases as of Monday, killing at least 2,015 people. This is a relatively controlled number compared to most Asian countries.
In contrast, India, which has the highest number of cases in Asia, officially reported more than 30.2 million cases as of Monday, according to Hopkins. According to the data, the number of cases in Indonesia is 2.11 million and the number of cases in the Philippines is about 1.4 million.
“Our current plan is to achieve herd immunity by November, but in my personal opinion, we could raise the timeline,” Hong said.
“We believe that if the inoculation goes according to plan, the situation in Covid-19 will be controlled, and from July we will be able to proceed uninterrupted with measures to support consumption and economic recovery. We move in that direction. “
But he warned that if the pandemic worsened, it would be difficult to promote these policies to boost growth.
The South Korean government plans to support a travel bubble program for fully vaccinated people, Hong said. A travel bubble is a pre-arranged transaction with another country that allows travelers from both countries to travel quarantine if certain conditions are met, such as a negative Covid test or complete vaccination. It stipulates that.
However, he said that whether or not a travel bubble would occur depends on the progress of vaccination and discussions with other countries, he did not name those countries.
Early June, Singapore newspaper The Straits Times South Korea reports exploring the possibility of a travel bubble In some countries, including Singapore and Taiwan, vaccinated people can travel without quarantine.
“I think more countries will be on the list of countries in need of travel, depending on their health status, vaccination coverage and level of convenience for migrants,” Hong told CNBC.
“I think we need to continue to work with private tour operators to investigate the status of the virus to determine exactly which country,” he added.
So far, at least one initiative that citizens can indulge in is “Do not fly anywhere” A destinationless concept introduced by some countries during a pandemic.
“Even if I couldn’t go abroad, the plane left without landing,” said Hong. “Passengers were able to fly all the way to Japan, float above Japan and come back without landing. Many people were interested in this and it is used a lot,” he said. Last year South Korea mentioned mentioning such a flight introduced in the South.
“Therefore, we believe that if health improves and vaccination campaigns speed up further, we will move in that direction.”