S. Korea to sharpen prevention measures as country tops 5,000 COVID-19 cases for first time in 20 days
Updated: 2022-01-19 10:05:00 KST
COVID-19 cases bounced back on Wednesday.
South Korea saw more than 5-thousand cases for the first time this year.
And the government says Omicron is fueling the latest increase in infections.
Our Kim Yeon-seung is on the line to tell you more.
Yeon-seung, what can you tell us?
South Korea's daily COVID-19 tally has topped 5-thousand for the first time in 20 days.
The country on Wednesday saw 5,805 new cases of COVID-19.
That's an on-week rise of 14-hundred.
Omicron seems to be behind the spike.
The government says that Omicron is quickly taking over to become the dominant strain.
"The Omicron spread is accelerating. One in four new infected cases are Omicron. The rate of infections is steeply rising in Jeolla-do, Kyeongsangbuk-do, and Gangwon-do provinces."
Officials are preparing to shift the current virus response into a system that's more tailored to Omicron.
This new response system will focus on speed and efficiency.
It will speed up contact tracing, strengthen quarantining for arrivals, secure medical capacity, expand treatment with COVID-19 pills, and bring in local doctors for testing and treatment.
If daily COVID-19 cases top 7-thousand, that's when the government will start steering into this Omicron-targeted system.
Prime Minister Kim also mentioned some changes that are to be made to the vaccine passes, is that right?
While sharpening the prevention measures, health authorities are loosening the rules for vaccine passes.
The Prime Minister said that they plan to enforce vaccine passes in a flexible way that brings down confusion and inconvenience.
One change they will be making would be extending vaccine pass exemptions those who have been hospitalized due to side effects after their first dose of vaccines.
Further tweaks to the vaccine pass rules will be announced on Thursday.
But more exemptions from vaccine passes doesn't mean that the government is becoming lax in their vaccination campaign.
In fact, Prime Minister Kim and senior health official Song Young-rae on Wednesday repeatedly stressed the importance of getting the booster shots, especially when defending against Omicron.
Back to you, Mok-yeon