South Korea aims for a post-Covid comeback with travel bubbles and herd immunity

On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, customers wearing protective masks paid for their purchase at a vegetable stand in Mangwon Market, Seoul, South Korea. BloombergCNBC's deputy prime minister said that South Korea wants to open its economy and create travel bubble programs after its relative success with controlling Covid-19. According to Hong Nam-ki (South Korea's minister for economy and finance), the government intends to increase consumption and further stimulate its economy in the second quarter of the year. Policies will be put in place to accomplish that goal. According to a CNBC translation, he said that the government had been successful in both vaccination and infection control. Based on these achievements, the current government plans to promote economic growth and maintain such health measures. He stated that South Korea's goal is to achieve herd immunity by November. This means that the virus will not spread quickly as the majority of the population will have been fully vaccinated. According to Hong, the country can expect to be at 70% by September.We plan to achieve herd immunity in November, but I believe we can pull off the timeline. Hong Nam-ki South Korea’s deputy prime MinisterAccording to Johns Hopkins University data, the country has reported over 155,500 deaths and more than 2,015 cases of illness as of Monday. These figures are much lower than those in most Asian countries. According to Hopkins, India, which has the highest incidence of cases in Asia, had reported 30.2 million cases by Monday. The data revealed that Indonesia has 2.11 millions cases and the Philippines nearly 1.4million caseloads. Hong stated that while our goal is to attain herd immunity by November, Hong believes we can achieve the timeline. We believe that the Covid-19 situation can be controlled if the inoculation goes according to plan. Then, measures to support consumption as well as economic recovery can be continued without interruptions starting in July. We will continue to push for this direction." He cautioned that if the pandemic gets worse, it would be difficult to push for policies to boost growth.Are you looking for a travel bubble?Hong stated that the South Korean government will support travel bubble programs for fully-vaccinated people. Travel bubbles are agreements made with other countries that allow travelers to travel between the two countries. They can be used for quarantine travel if they meet certain conditions, such as positive Covid tests and full vaccination. He said that the success of vaccinations and the progress of discussions with other countries will determine whether or not the travel bubble will be realized. However, he declined to identify the countries. The Straits Times of Singapore reported in June that South Korea was looking into travel bubble options with Taiwan and Singapore to allow travel without quarantine for people who had been vaccinated.