February 23, 2022 09:39
New daily COVID-19 infections stood at 171,452 as of Wednesday morning, an increase of more than 60,000 overnight. Over 100,000 cases were found in the Seoul metropolitan area.
The positive rate of COVID tests nationwide reached 33.7 percent, which means that one in every three people tested positive.
Most COVID patients with mild symptoms have been told to stay at home, but on Feb. 20 their numbers soared to 470,000, and severe cases are also sharply increasing with about 480 cases as of Monday, compared to 146 in the first week of February.
Eom Joong-sik of Gachon University's Gil Medical Center warned, "If COVID patients staying at home are not treated properly, many of them could become severe cases, causing a huge crisis."
To prevent transmission in households, the government is advising complete isolation for patients who live with their family, including separate bathrooms, but that is largely unrealistic.
"It's impossible to separate patients from their family given the layout of the average Korean home," Eom added.
But Park Hyang of the Health Ministry said, "Korea has just entered the initial stages of handling the coronavirus pandemic as endemic. Eventually it'll be possible to handle the Omicron variant just like any other infectious disease."
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