Korea may suspend ‘living with Covid’ scheme if virus spread aggravates

25-Nov-2021 Intellasia | KoreaBiomed | 7:19 AM Print This Post

The government said Tuesday it would strengthen quarantine restrictions, possibly holding the current “living with Covid” strategy if the virus spread keeps aggravating.

Korea is recording an all-time high figure in the number of severely ill Covid-19 patients, with more and more patients unable to find sickbeds in the wider Seoul area. According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), 836 people have waited longer than a day to be hospitalised.

Health authorities said they have been trying to shorten the waiting time by transferring patients in the Seoul metro region to hospitals in nearby provinces for treating Covid-19. As a result, the occupancy rate of sickbeds available in Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province has surpassed its limit to reach 83.3 percent, according to health officials.

“We will secure sickbeds and readjust the number of health workers to fill manpower shortage,” Park Hyang, a senior official of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said.

After raising the risk rating in the capital city and its surrounding province to “very high,” the highest in the new weekly five-tier assessment system, the government said it could also consider suspending the nation’s restoration of normal daily life by “triggering a circuit breaker to the living-with-Covid system,” according to Son Young-rae, the spokesperson for the health ministry.

Since the country began to return to pre-Covid-19 life about three months ago, the number of critically ill patients has continuously risen to reach the record-high of 549 on Tuesday.

“We discussed the need to re-tighten viral restrictions somewhat in emergency measures if the situation keeps getting worse,” Son said. “There are voices that our infection controls have to become stricter by, for instance, setting off a circuit breaker for the capital city and nearby areas experiencing insufficient medical capacity. However, the government believes we have not reached such a situation yet.”

The government has vaccinated 42,290,047 people 11,115,958 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, 23,003,828 with Pfiser’s vaccine, 1,496,907 with Janssen’s vaccine, 6,673,354 with Moderna’s vaccine with the first shot of the vaccine up 49,198 from the previous day.

Also, the health ministry has provided 1,958,451 booster shots to senior citizens and other vulnerable groups to protect them from breakthrough infections.

As of Tuesday, 79 percent of Koreans completed vaccinations, while 82.4 percent have received their first shots. The KDCA expects full vaccination rates to reach 80 percent around mid-December.

The nation saw 2,699 new virus cases, including 2,685 local infections, raising the cumulative caseload to 420,950. Thirty more people died from the virus, increasing the death toll to 3,328 with a fatality rate of 0.79 percent.

On Monday, all elementary, middle, and high schools nationwide resumed full-fledged in-person classes, raising worries that many unvaccinated teens could be exposed to risks of infections.

The resumption marked the first time schools switched to learning from home or classes being held in shifts since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

During a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, prime minister Kim Boo-kyum said the government could not further postpone the resumption of in-person classes amid worries that learning from home and other restrictions could result in insufficient education support and falling academic achievement of students.

Kim ordered the education ministry and other relevant government agencies to do their best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at school and other multi-use facilities, such as study rooms and PC cafes, frequently used by students.



Category: Korea

Print This Post

Comments are closed.