Authorities prepare new Omicron-tailored response as spread of variant accelerates
Updated: 2022-01-19 17:06:01 KST
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 more than 14-hundred.
But with Omicron, cases are expected to drive up even higher.
"During the three weeks of extended social distancing, including the Seollal holiday, 80 to 90 percent of cases will become Omicron. We see that an increase in infected cases will inevitably follow.
Officials are preparing to shift into a faster and more efficient virus response system tailored to Omicron.
They will kickstart this Omicron-targeted system when cases reach 7-thousand a day.
While sharpening their virus response, health authorities are providing more leeway on vaccine passes.
The government hopes to minimize confusion and inconvenience.
So one change it will be making is broadening vaccine pass exemptions for those who have been hospitalized due to side effects after getting their first vaccine dose.
More exemptions will be announced on Thursday.
But this does not mean that the government is becoming lax in its vaccination campaign.
"We need to speed up our third shots. The more we delay it, the more vulnerable we may become to the threat of Omicron."
Cases have also been rising among foreign residents in South Korea, who have a relatively low rate of third-doses of vaccinations.
The government strongly encourages everyone to go and get their top up shots.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News