Starting with the UK in July, countries around the world have eased their existing strong quarantine measures. After reaching the conclusion that collective immunity to COVID-19 will not be possible, countries are planning to slowly restore daily life before COVID-19 by managing only severe patients. In line with this trend, South Korea also announced on October 29 that it will implement the Coexisting with COVID-19 policy from November.
With the implementation of Coexisting With COVID-19 Policy in Korea, the Koreans are gradually recovering their daily lives. Recovery in the economic sector is especially incredible. Joo Won, head of the economic research department at Hyundai Research Institute said, "Face-to-face consumption is also related to the formation of relationships between people, so if meetings increase, the face-to-face service industry can improve. The implementation of coexisting with COVID-19 policy is, of course, a positive factor for the game.” In fact, the response of self-employed and small business owners who suffered from business restrictions due to the prolonged COVID-19 is positive. A self-employed person who runs a meat restaurant in Gangnam, Seoul, expected that "With the implementation of the Coexisting with COVID-19 Policy, group customers such as dinners increased and sales increased by 25% from before the implementation of coexisting with COVID-19 policy."
There is a positive impact from the implementation of coexisting with COVID-19 policy, but some worry that quarantine easing measures will lead to an epidemic again. This is because vaccines do not fully guarantee safety from COVID-19. Dr. Yeom Ho-ki, a lung specialist at Inje University Paik Hospital, predicted that the number of new patients in Korea could reach 20,000 per day under the Coexisting with COVID-19 policy. According to an announcement by the Central Disease Control and Prevention Agency, as of November 7, the number of newly confirmed patients increased by 800-a-day from 70 [et1] from before the implementation of coexisting with COVID-19 policy.
Critics say that only letting those who are fully vaccinated enter multi-use facilities discriminates against non-vaccinated people. This is because the government has announced that they will adopt a "Vaccine Pass," a kind of health certificate that permits the use of various facilities, such as entertainment and indoor sports facilities, only for people with COVID-19 vaccination certificates or a negative PCR test. Kim, an unvaccinated woman in her 20s at Dongdeok Women's University said, "At first, the government left it to my autonomy, but I feel uncomfortable because it seems to be forcing me to get vaccinated by introducing a vaccine pass." On the contrary, some say that vaccine passes are essential measures for smooth daily life recovery. Lee Jae-gap, a professor of infectious medicine at Hanlym University said, "I think it is an intermediate step to go through to restore the daily lives of people because we can prevent infection of unvaccinated people by using vaccine passes."
With the prolonged COVID-19, various positions related to passes collide with each other, causing social conflict. On October 30, the Korean Medical Association proposed measures to make coexisting with COVID-19 sustainable. The main contents are the establishment of medical personnel, treatment systems, and thorough preparation for self-treatment in preparation for a large-scale increase in patients.
The most important thing is the formation of trust between the government and the people and individual actions based on it. The government should integrate society by presenting more diverse information on COVID-19 and persuasive solutions to the public. Individuals should not only trust the government to provide clear information, but they should also protect their own hygiene.