January 12, 2022 11:28
The lockdown that was reimposed last month after a phased return to normal in early November resulted in skyrocketing coronavirus cases could be eased again now that infections are dropping.
Currently no more than four people can gather and a 9 o'clock curfew has been imposed on restaurants and coffee shops. The government is considering raising numbers to six to eight and the curfew to midnight.
A health official said, "It is positive to see infection numbers drop, but the spread of the Omicron variant is worrisome." Health authorities discuss their options on Wednesday and will reach a final decision on Friday.
Meanwhile, 20,000 courses of Pfizer's oral COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid arrive at Incheon International Airport at noon on Thursday, and prescriptions are made available as early as Friday.
Priority will be given to patients over 65 and infected people with weak immunities. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has authorized the use of Paxlovid for patients over 12 in emergencies.
Coronavirus patients have to take two pink tablets -– nirmatrelvir -- and one white pill -- ritonavir -- twice a day for five days. The drug has to be taken within five days after COVID symptoms appear.
On Wednesday morning, the daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 4,388 with 749 severe cases.
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