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(3.29) Regular Briefing of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on COVID-19

  • Date : 2020-03-31
  • Hit : 1237

(3.29) Regular Briefing of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on COVID-19

- ▲Implementation plan for infection prevention and control in new normal, ▲progress of reviewing school opening and future plan, ▲measures to enhance management of entrants from abroad, and ▲current status regarding supply and demand of masks, etc. -

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held a meeting today presided over by Head Chung Sekyun (Prime Minister) along with the central government and 17 cities and provinces to discuss ▲implementation plan for infection prevention and control in new normal, ▲progress of reviewing school opening and future plan, ▲measures to enhance management of entrants from abroad, and ▲current status regarding supply and demand of masks, and etc. at the Central Disaster and Safety Management Center in Government Complex Seoul.

○ Head Chung requested, at the meeting, each agency to fully cooperate at a time the local governments bear increasing burden and roles with an increase in self-quarantine subjects due to enhanced management of foreign entrants.

○ Meanwhile, he directed the relevant ministries to develop special countermeasures to prevent infection of medical workforce, pointing out that medical workers fighting against COVID-19 in the field are increasingly infected by the virus, and it is not possible to succeed in the prevention for the public without successful infection prevention for medical practitioners.


1. Preparation status for "the new normal, infection prevention and control in daily life"


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters is preparing for a new infection prevention and control system in advance so that we can shift to a new system called "infection prevention and control in daily life" when Korea's healthcare system and society are prepared through "enhanced social distancing".

○ After practicing social distancing, the rate of increase in the newly confirmed has slowed down, and the daily number of the recovered exceeds that of the newly confirmed for 16 days.

○ However, it is too early to be complacent since there still have been group infection cases in Korea, and the number of imported cases from abroad is increasing.

○ In preparation for the prolonged COVID-19 responses, it is necessary to plan ahead so that personal hygiene and social distancing can be continuously practiced at a level consistent with everyday life.

□ "Daily infection prevention" aims to curb the number of COVID-19 patients to a level that our hospitals and medical staff can endure until the COVID-19 pandemic is over with the development of vaccines and cures.

○ So, the "guidelines for daily infection prevention" plan to include measures to keep individual and environmental hygiene and key methods for keeping social distance which can be harmonized with daily life and economic activities.

○ An online survey was conducted to find out what people are actually wondering about daily prevention, collecting valuable opinions of over 2,200 respondents, which are actively being reflected in the guidelines.

- Five key rules were determined the public should follow in daily life, and 3 to 5 specific action plans for each rule were suggested in consideration of features of COVID-19 virus including strong infectivity from its early stage with very few symptoms, and droplet infection.

- Also, based on the key rules, detailed guidelines by each target, place, and situation plan to be developed so that the public can practice in their daily lives.

- In particular, for some questions many of the survey respondents asked such as when to wear a mask and how to appropriately disinfect, detailed guidelines will be set out and provided.

○ In addition, the guidelines for the daily prevention plan to consist of recommendations designed to encourage voluntary participation of the public through institutional and financial support systems unlike the period of the stronger social distancing accompanied by punishment or forced measures.

○ For this, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters is putting its head together with all ministries related to daily infection prevention to have discussions and negotiations, identify what needs to be improved for better institutions, and develop support measures.

□ In addition, in order to devise guidelines and support systems which not only have medical expertise but also can be socially accepted by the public, a social consensus agency plans to be organized and run encompassing participation of medical and infection control professionals, and representatives from the labor, management, and civil societies.

○ Currently, the process is going on to appoint appropriate figures from all sectors of the society who can join the social consensus organization and well represent and deliver public opinions.


2. Measures to enhance infection prevention and control of entrants from abroad


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters strengthens infection prevention and control of entrants from abroad as the confirmed cases are recently increasing in many countries around the world and the cases imported from abroad are on the rise.

○ The following measures were devised: ① incoming travelers from all foreign countries should go into self-quarantine for 14 days in principle, ② foreigners for short-term stay including travelers should be isolated in facilities for 14 days upon arrival except for those visiting for national or public interest purposes, and ③ expenses incurred from using isolation facilities are collected, to name a few.

□ First, all Koreans and foreign nationals arriving from other countries should go into self-quarantine or be isolated in facilities for 2 weeks.

○ Currently, only arrivals from Europe and the United States are self-isolated, but in the future, all Koreans and foreigners for long-term stay arriving from all parts of the world will go into self-isolation, in principle, for 14 days upon entry.

○ Those entering the nation for short-term stay who used to be under active surveillance without any self-isolation should go into self-quarantine, in principle.

- Entrants for short-term stay will go into self-isolation except for those coming for exceptional reasons such as national interest or official duties*, considering that there is a significant risk of imported cases at the moment, and there is a possibility of spread of infection when symptoms of short-term visitors who were asymptomatic at the immigration stage are activated during their stay in Korea or those with minor symptoms are not sufficiently reported through the self-diagnostic application (Ministry of Health and Welfare).

* (1) In case the visa type falls into the following categories: A1 (Diplomat), A2 (Government official), A3 (Agreement)
(2) In case the Korean Embassy issues a self-quarantine exemption document in advance prior to the entry due to the following reasons:
- ▴Important business purpose (contract, investment, etc.) ▴ academic purpose (international event), ▴ other valid purposes including public or humanitarian ones

- As even short-term visitors will be self-isolated for that period, it is expected that they will enter the nation only when it is absolutely necessary. Those who are exceptionally excluded from self-isolation will undergo the enhanced active surveillance*.

* Fill out whether to have any symptom on the mobile self-diagnostic app (Ministry of Health and Welfare) and have them checked via phone calls

○ Therefore, if this measure is implemented, all Koreans and foreign nationals must go into self-isolation except for exceptional cases.

○ If there is no residence or suitable place for self-isolation, it is possible for those subjects to use the isolation facilities prepared by the government (or local governments) so that every quarantine subject can be self-isolated. In case of using such facilities provided by the government, expenses incurred from using them plan to be collected from both Koreans and foreigners.

□ The scope of diagnostic tests for incoming entrants is also expanded.

○ Symptomatic cases identified during the quarantine stage at airport and foreign entrants from abroad take diagnostic tests at the quarantine stage as it currently is. Those test negative go into self-isolation.

* Korean entrants bound from Europe go home and take the diagnostic tests at health centers within 3 days upon entry (same as before).

- Other subjects under self-quarantine get tested at local health centers when any symptom appears during the isolation period.

○ In addition, it is planned that people who have entered Korea within the last 14 days will be guided by text message of each local government to go into self-isolation for 14 days from the date of entry, and to undergo the diagnostic tests at health centers when any symptom appears.

□ These measures will be applied to the entrants coming from 00:00 on April 1 and afterward, and their cancellation will be determined by evaluating future global pandemic trends and level of risks of each country and region.


3. Current status regarding supply and demand of masks
※ In case of any query, contact to the following information:

Affiliation

Division

Contact Information

Ministry of Economy and Finance

Economic Policy Division

044-215-2710, 2712

Price Policy Division

044-215-2770, 2771

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

Bio-Convergence Industry Division

044-203-4390, 4391

Public Procurement Service

Procurement Planning Division

042-724-7210, 7265

Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

Customer Risk Prevention Policy Division

043-719-1711, 1722

※ All Koreans faced with issues regarding exorbitant prices of or hoarding masks and hand sanitizers are strongly advised to actively report to the authorities through the reporting center (02-2640-5057/5080/5087), customer call center (1372), and MFDS website (www.mfds.go.kr).

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