Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum speaks at a meeting held at the government complex in central Seoul, Friday.(Yonhap)
Health authorities are expecting the omicron variant spread to reach its peak within 10 days, reaching some 370,000 COVID-19 cases a day.
South Korea saw 282,987 new confirmed cases as of Thursday midnight, while the number of deaths hit 229.
“According to predictions from multiple research teams, the spread will reach its peak within 10 days. The average daily new cases can reach the maximum of 370,000,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said at a meeting held at the government complex in central Seoul, Friday.
“During this period, the government will prioritize the lives of the people, minimizing the number of patients in serious condition and deaths,” he said.
Treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients will also change due to the ongoing record surge, Kim said.
”From next week, mild COVID patients can be treated at general hospital wards. From now, the general hospital system should treat COVID-19 patients, too. We ask for the understanding and cooperation from health care workers,” Kim said.
COVID-19 testing protocols, too, will be adjusted.
From next week, results of rapid antigen testing by experts will be accepted without need for further PCR testing, he said, adding that the measure would be able to prevent further infections.
“Confirmed patients aged 60 or older can receive prescriptions for COVID-19 oral pills at medical institutions where they were tested at,” he said.
The prime minister returned to his post on Thursday after recovering from COVID-19. He was treated at home.
”(Staff at) a medical center checked up on me twice a day as I am over 60. I will see that the medical system allows at-home care patients who are not at high risk to make inquiries to health care workers,” Kim said.
By Im Eun-byel (email@example.com