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S.Korean president calls for int'l solidarity to overcome COVID-19 pandemic

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:00, April 27, 2021

SEOUL, April 26 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday called for international solidarity and cooperation to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic amid sharp rise in the number of cases in some of the countries to "save their own skin."

"Such global pandemic as the COVID-19 outbreak requires international solidarity and cooperation more than any because one country cannot overcome it unless the others do. But reality is different in international politics," Moon told a regular meeting with his senior secretaries, according to the presidential Blue House.

"Every country chanted solidarity and cooperation with one voice when they had something to spare. But (some of the countries) under pressing circumstances have laid aside coalition and international cooperation, seeking to save their own skin through border closures, control of vaccine export and panic buying," Moon noted.

Moon said South Korea should pursue international solidarity and cooperation while squarely facing up to the harsh reality of international politics, urging people to domestically be united to wisely tackle the pandemic crisis.

The president stressed that it will be significant more than anything to implement the country's vaccination scheme as planned without comparing it to those unveiled by other countries.

Moon's comments came amid the rising concern here about the relatively slow vaccine rollout and the vaccine safety, which some of local conservative media and politicians particularly took issue with.

Moon asked them not to excessively politicize the COVID-19 vaccine issue, which the president said could increase "vague anxiety" over the vaccine supply and the vaccination.

Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki, who serves as the acting prime minister, told a nationally televised address earlier in the day that with the latest deal with Pfizer, South Korea laid foundations to move up the date of herd immunity while preemptively bracing for the booster shots in response to COVID-19 variants.

The country reached a deal with the U.S. pharmaceutical firm to purchase additional vaccines for 20 million people over the weekend.

In total, South Korea secured COVID-19 vaccines enough to inoculate 99 million people, almost double the country's 52 million population, through the World Health Organization-led COVAX global vaccine facility and the purchase deals with AstraZeneca, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen and Moderna as well as Pfizer.

Since the mass vaccination started here on Feb. 26, South Korea has administered COVID-19 vaccines to about 2.27 million people, with 104,905 fully vaccinated. The country aimed to achieve the herd immunity by November.

Hong said no delay of vaccine rollout from any pharmaceutical company has been reported here, vowing to let 12 million people receive the first doses by the end of June as scheduled.

The acting prime minister noted that the daily number of people, who can receive COVID-19 jabs, will be increased to 1.5 million by the end of May, saying it can enable 36 million people, or 70 percent of the country's population, to get the COVID-19 shots at least once by the end of September.

In the latest tally, the country reported 500 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 119,387. The daily caseload fell below 600 in six days partly due to fewer virus tests over the weekend.

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