Experts say countries should remain cautious about reopening borders

As more Asian countries look at reopening their borders and their economies with a "living with COVID" strategy, experts said governments should remain cautious and prepare plans in case of a rise in infections.
"As we think about opening-up, the most important thing to emphasize is that not only should there be a plan for relaxing restrictions, but there should at the same time be a plan for what to do in case restrictions are needed again," said Jerome Kim, director-general of the International Vaccine Institute, a nonprofit organization in Seoul.
For example, in the United Kingdom, after most pandemic restrictions were lifted in July, the country is now facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the government is considering whether to reinstate mask wearing and other guidelines.
"(Governments) should discuss what the plans are for reinstating requirements," said Kim, adding that if the hospitalization rate reaches 80 percent of intensive care unit capacity and overwhelms the health system, then measures will need to be taken either locally or nationally.
Across Asia, an increasing number of governments are gradually moving toward coexisting with COVID-19 and reopening their borders for economic recovery.
In South Korea, a government-led committee is expected to announce on Friday its final road map for the country to gradually return to normal life under a "living with COVID-19" plan from Monday, according to Yonhap News Agency.
According to its road map released last Monday, the government will relax most of its COVID-19 restrictions and introduce the "vaccine pass" system in a phased manner. Mandatory mask wearing will remain in place until the final phase.
South Korea's plan came as over 70 percent of its 52 million population were fully vaccinated. As of Wednesday, about 79.6 percent of its entire population had received at least one dose, with 71.5 percent being fully vaccinated, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Among the adult population, 83.1 percent of people aged above 18 have

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