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South Korea expects to see highest daily tally of over 10-thousand on Wednesday Updated: 2022-01-26 05:41:37 KST

South Korea is expecting to see its daily COVID-19 figures reach another record-high on Wednesday.
This, as the country kicks off a new set of virus prevention measures specifically made to try and curb the spread of Omicron.
For more, we have our reporter Shin Ye-eun with us. Good morning.

Good morning.

Ye-eun, we saw the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections yesterday. But we're expecting to see this go up even higher on Wednesday

We're expecting to see Wednesday's COVID-19 tally surpass the 10-thousand mark.
That's the largest daily COVID-19 count ever.
Up until 9 pm on Tuesday, the country reported 9-thousand 2-hundred 18 infectionswhich was up by more than 1-thousand 780 from the day before.
This was also nearly double the amount reported last week with many attributing the rise to the rapid spread of Omicron.
Health authorities have said that with Omicron becoming the dominant strain, Korea is set on seeing a "doubling phenomenon"which means that the number of new COVID-19 infections will double at speeds we've never seen before.
Son Youngrae, a senior health official said in a radio interview with local broadcaster CBS on Tuesday, that Omicron could account for more than 90 percent of all new cases in two to three weeks' time.
Accordingly, the country might see daily figures surpass 20 to 30-thousand in February.

From today, South Korea is introducing Omicron-tailored prevention measures. How are they different from previous ones?

Some key changes that take effect from today is that COVID-19 screening centers will only conduct PCR testing on high-risk groups and those suspected to be infected.
Everyone else will have to test themselves at screening centers but using rapid antigen test kits instead.
The latest measures are being introduced first, in the southwestern city of Gwangju, the surrounding Jeollanam-do Province and the cities of Pyeongtaek and Anseong in Gyeonggi-do Province.
The government is planning to expand these testing protocols nationwide as early as the end of this month or early February.
Authorities have also made changes to the number of days a person infected with COVID-19 has to self-isolate or be treated at homebased on their vaccination status.
For infected people that have been fully vaccinated, the quarantine period has been reduced from 10 days to 7.
Those that haven't been fully vaccinated, must stay in self-isolation for 10 days.
Another change has been made to the self-isolation period for those who have come into close contact with a patient.
If you've been fully vaccinated and have been wearing a mask at the point of contact you do not need to go through quarantine at allwhereas the unvaccinated must quarantine for 7 days.
All close contacts, however, must get a PCR test within 6-7 days.
Under these new measures, to be considered fully vaccinated14 days must have passed since the person received their 2nd jab or booster.
But, if over 90 days have passed they would be considered unvaccinated.

Apart from new virus prevention measuresauthorities have tried to accelerate the distribution of antiviral pills to more people. Who's eligible for these COVID-19 pills now, and who might be very soon?

As of now Korea has only been administering antiviral pills to seniors aged 60 and upafter receiving the first batch from Pfizer some two weeks ago.
But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said authorities are considering lowering the age of eligibility to those in their fifties.
The Prime Minister said the 200 courses of COVID-19 pills used up to now have proved to be quite effective.
He said one thing was sure.
Those who took the medication did not develop severe illnesses.

Thank you for your report as always, Ye-eun.
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