Korea Shifts COVID Battle to Severe Cases

      February 08, 2022 09:34

      Korea on Monday stopped tracking people who are self-isolating at home after testing positive for coronavirus as daily new infections reach tens of thousands.

      Infected people without symptoms also no longer receive medical kits from the government, and from Thursday, medical facilities will also stop checking on their health. Patients will have to contact designated clinics for treatment if they develop symptoms.

      People wait to get tested for coronavirus in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap

      The shift in strategy to deal with a surge in Omicron variant cases also means that the government will focus on priority groups like the over-60 or patients over 50 with underlying diseases. Hospitals and clinics will check on their health twice a day by telephone.

      Fully vaccinated family members of infected people will not be required to self-isolate and only unvaccinated family members will have to stay home for seven days.

      Earlier this month, the government already revised its COVID response to give free PCR tests only to the elderly and vulnerable in order to prevent the medical system from being overwhelmed by Omicron cases.

      School principals will be given discretion to decide whether to resume full-time offline classes when the spring semester starts in March.

      Coronavirus self-test kits are sold out in a convenience store in Seoul on Monday.

      Jeong Eun-kyeong, the head of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said, "Daily infections could rise to 130,000 to 170,000 by the end of this month."

      The government said individual cooperation is crucial. But there are concerns that infected people could violate safety rules and roam around too freely if the restrictions are lifted.

      On Tuesday morning, th tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 36,719, over 30,000 cases for the fourth day in a row.

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