As the Lunar New Year approaches this weekend and the nation's fight against Omicron continues, South Korea's Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum has implored people yet again this year not to travel to their hometowns to visit relatives.
"A number of times, the government has asked that you connect with your families from a distance, saying 'one last time' or 'just this once.' But we have seen how movement across the country at major holidays can worsen the COVID-19 situation."
He noted that Omicron has become the dominant strain of the virus in Korea, and that looking at other countries, once Omicron's prevalence passes 60 percent, there tends to be a sharp rise in cases.
If people travel over the five-day holiday and meet other people, he said, it'll only add fuel to the fire.
"The main idea in fighting Omicron is to control the number of new infections. If infections occur slowly, we can get through it as we have prepared to do so, even if it means a degree of hardship. But a spike in a short period of time will lead inevitably to disorder and loss."
For those who have no choice but to travel, he said a third shot of the vaccine is strongly requested along with a test before leaving.
In addition, he advised people to wear masks that have a KF grade of at least 80 and if symptoms appear at any point to get tested.
Lastly, all those returning from a trip should be tested before going back to work.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.