South Korea Extends Restrictions Due To The Serious COVID Omicron Variant Cases

South Korea Extends Restrictions Due To The Serious COVID Omicron Variant Cases
Source – Nature

South Korea said Friday that it would prolong tighter social distancing limits for two weeks in response to a continuing increase in severe coronavirus infections and worries about the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant.


South Korea Extends Restrictions Due To The Serious COVID Omicron Variant Cases

South Korea said Friday that it would prolong tighter social distancing limits for two weeks in response to a continuing increase in severe coronavirus infections and worries about the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant.

The government imposed restrictions on Dec. 18, six weeks after reducing them under a “living with COVID-19" programme, as record-breaking numbers of new infections and serious cases placed the country’s medical system under severe pressure.

On Thursday, daily counts have now reduced to 4,875 new cases, down from almost 8,000 two weeks ago. Still, the number of severely sick patients remains around 1,000, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Source - East Asia Forum

The extension is also intended to prepare for the possibility of future spread of Omicron infections by providing more hospital beds and encouraging a booster vaccination injection campaign, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum stated.

We should reserve sufficient beds that can cover some 10,000 cases a day, and we should also speed up booster shots and children’s vaccinations," he said.

The regulations in force until Jan. 16 prohibit gatherings of more than four fully vaccinated individuals and require restaurants, cafés, and bars to shut by 9 p.m. (1400 GMT), while movie theatres and internet cafes must close by 10 p.m.

Unvaccinated individuals may only eat alone or order takeout or delivery.

South Koreans aged 12 and older are about 91 percent properly vaccinated.

The KDCA reported that the total number of infections is 630,838, including 894 Omicron cases, with 5,563 fatalities.

According to Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol, the Omicron variant is expected to become prevalent in the near future, as it is in the United States and most of Europe.

For the second consecutive year, South Korea has cancelled its annual midnight bell-ringing event, as the coronavirus has stifled New Year celebrations and curtailed other global festivities in an attempt to curb widespread transmission.

Source – The Edge Markets

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